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Imagine / Dimitri



The following text represents an expression of Dimitri's artistic belief system.

"Wherever You Go, There You Are"

Mind Defragmenter
: Password: Truth by lying
ID: Lying by truth

Enter by Exit

The following is a consideration of ideas, text and art, with reference to the work of myself (Kin Za Za), Lao Tzu, Buddha, Damien Hirst and possibly a host of lesser but better mortals.

Journey through the title, via the title, from the title, above the title, beyond the title, behind the title, within the title, on top of the title, between the title, inside the title, beside the title…Anyway I came up with the title and the following is the result of it.

Society does a 'fantastic' job of defining who is in and who is out, what is a proper way of understanding the words and what is not. It does not have a large tolerance for ambiguity yet it creates it all the time..

I participate in art (and text as a part of it) as an open-ended spirituality, to make sense of existence. It is all about wild landscape where wilderness represents possibility, creativity and enthusiasm for life. I have no destination in view. The path into the light seems dark; the path forward seems to go back. Having a " view " is like going forward without advancing. Not having a view is the same thing but feels differently (somewhat more artistic - in my definition). An artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. Understanding should be based on direct experiences, not on premises or concepts. By the way if I change previous sentence into: Understanding should be based on premises and concepts …and not on blah, blah, blah…it would make as much sense as the original sentence…Wherever you go there you are. Whether you go up the ladder or down it, your position is shaky. The probability that human intelligence developed all the way from the chemical ooze of the primeval ocean has been recently aptly compared to the probability of a tornado blowing through a gigantic junkyard and assembling by accident a 747 jumbo jet. (Why not?!…) Let it be mystery. Let it be artistic. Moreover, if these words are vague, then seek not to clear them. Vagueness is the beginning of many things and often their end. Therefore, it is possible to redefine vagueness as a new standard of crystal clarity. Crystal after all is a solidified mist. Wherever you go…

It is possible to see lies and truths as an arbitrary construct and projection of the mind that has no objective existence at all. I can see any number of interpenetrating lies and truths in holographic coexistence. Presuming to know the truth is a disease. I have also stopped reassuring my self that some reasonable explanations must exist. At this point, I start registering all the puzzling and controversial theories without judging them (of course I judge'em QUIETLY) or trying to explain them (by judging). Gradually I recognize that there are important models in art that offer exciting conceptual alternatives to lies and truths.

Ideas are objects, sentences are containers, and communication is sending. We gather our ideas to put them into words and if we are lucky , we might convey these ideas to a listener/reader, who can unpack our words to extract their content into their own meaning. The process of (mis)understanding can be illustrated by the joke about two phsychoanalysis who met on the street. One says,'Good morning'; the other thinks, 'I wonder what he meant by that'.

All words are a finger pointing at the thought and if you only stare at the finger, you don't see the thought. On the other hand, these words are a thought pointing at the finger, which is pointing at the thought, which is pointing at… T H E F I N G ER……….!!! Try giving directions to a stranger without pointing, and you know that hands are as linked to speech as teeth are to the tongue as the text is to art

One of the first obstacles to be overcome on the art-path is the habit of always thinking in language when one should perhaps be feeling it instead. Once this step has been taken, language becomes one more tool in the mental toolbox. If someone asks, Why do things fall? The answer might be:" gravity ". But does it really tell us anything? Things fall because they fall. The most honest answer to this question is that we cannot know why. ( however I'm probably comforted to hear the word gravity- it sets my mind at ease)

One aim of art practice is to become free with language. To use it with precision and logic at one moment, poetically the next, and then perhaps not at all. Belief is measured by action, thought is measured by word, and art is measured (if it can be measured at all) by experience. Experience is measured by art, by thought, by word…sometimes it cannot be adequately measured at all and sometimes it may be a very efficient tool of the soul to introduce this " thing " that is being measured/unmeasured. We can even posit that any " thing " at all is just this type of vibration, whether the thing is a …Or a disconnected brain wave. Perhaps it disconnected itself, created itself, defined itself. However useful/useless it is, it doesn't have to connect to anything at all in the universe. Perhaps we can say that it is the nature of language to break things up into parts. And it is the nature of art to bring them back together in a variety of configurations.

Part 2:

'Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser then before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.'

Every morning in London Damien Hirst wakes up. He doesn't know why he wakes up. What's more disturbing he doesn't know why he went to sleep in the first place…He doesn't know many other things…but something he knows for sure is that the moment he wakes up he must run.

Every morning in the Ocean a shark wakes up. It doesn't know why it wakes up. It doesn't know why it went to sleep and it doesn't know the difference between sleep and non-sleep. It knows only one thing, it must run…

It doesn't matter whether you are Damien Hirst or a Shark, it doesn't matter whether it's night or day. Once you wake up you'd better get running.

This kind of arbitrariness that exists between ideas and images is seen in the images and inherent language purveyed by Damien Hirst whose most controversial work involves dead animals suspended in glass cases of formaldehyde. These include: 'Away From the Flock' (1994); 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living' ( 1996). Other notable works include 'Pharmacy' (1992) and his series of Spin Paintings 'beautiful, insane, insensitive, erupting, liquid, ice, vice painting'

In reply to an expressed concern regarding the prospect of his fish (a 14foot shark) eventually rotting, Hirst quite sensibly observes that 'the fish can be replaced'. And to highlight where the art managers interests primarily lie he asks the question, 'What's more important, the artist's original idea or the artist's original work?' One could extrapolate from this that the title of the piece might even be more important to some than the work itself; titles don't rot. However Hirst has also pointed out that anything can be preserved if the will is there. Nonetheless perhaps the title is a safeguard against physical extinction, whereas the language inherent in the ideas is presumably indestructible. From this angle the title begins to seem somewhat of a safety chute and one may wonder if it doesn't in fact trivialize the work itself.

As materialist or insecure as this may sound on Hirst's part, he nonetheless is stating quite clearly that his emphasis is on ideas and therefore language. I respect his language and have little choice perhaps but to go with him…Is there a truthful argument for going against. He is not stating an opinion after all. In any case this emphasis on ideas seems to have freed Hirst up to create works of art that not only rot as a process of their organic nature but are ephemeral and often short lived at that and are of use therefore, given his intention. A case in point is that of 'In and Out of Life' of which Hirst says 'I didn't want to do a painting, I didn't want to do a sculpture; I wanted to do something more real than that. Therefore, the obvious way was to take something real and use it as it is. And the same with formaldehyde, I think.'

The use of formaldehyde with its pervasive stench and yellowish green color seems as significant to the works as the specter of the animals themselves. For example, it's very evocative of museums that pickle samples of life in an effort to remember them. However, for any number of reasons the animals and the formaldehyde are heavily significant to most people, to the point perhaps that the title is neither here nor there or at worse somehow seems somewhat of an affectation. Not only are the images large and startling, they are also very familiar. One cannot look at a lamb for instance, preserved life like and yet dead, without feeling something, whether that is sadness, nausea, anger or indifference even. Apparently, people often initially find this specter amusing; perhaps their first impression of it is not a personal experience but rather a socially constructed one on account of the gallery context. I would no doubt feel emotion of some description watching an (untitled) lamb going to be slaughtered, or more similarly, finding one, drowned in a ditch, victim of a flood… the idea of the lamb, entirely out of it's element, and out of life even is tragic, to my mind.

Perhaps I want to suggest then, among other things, that much of art, the kind of art that is accessible to the public, is also experiential, will knock you out with it's dynamism of ideas and or imagery…shall make some universal statement, will not require degrees of intellectual dynamite in order to be penetrated and understood. As Hirst says of the sheep, and as a commentary on the media, 'This is not a portrayal of a sheep, this is a sheep.'

The arbitrariness of titles is also suggested when Hirst tries to explain how his Spot, and his Spin paintings fit into the totality of his work. He ironically proposes a title that might help: 'Isolated elements for the Purpose of Understanding'. In a sense, titles are neither here nor there. They can be thought provoking, irritating, misleading and pulled out of a hat and certainly play to an art house world (and even perhaps lend a mystery to untitled pieces that is not deserved).

However if titles can be seen as arbitrary the language suggested by an object is at least mutable. Language pervades the imagery, speaks differently to different people and is understood differently; it is often the language of the banal reshaped and redelivered to reanimate the observer yet again with the old news but an implicit message, or affirmation about being. Who said that repetition is also a form of change? Or that question is a form of answer. Raise the question. Repeat the question. Follow the question. Settle the question with another question. Spiritual intention requires a sustained effort to maintain our direction without expecting any result. Sufficient repetition causes one to think about and hopefully know, what one is saying. It also has the effect of knocking at a door until it is opened (knocking not banging).

Often the individual is afraid of facing new experiences and continues to view a variety of highly idiosyncratic and faulty assumptions about art and the world as accurate and generally valid.

Art is a state of mind…art is a text of mind…text is an art of mind.

It can occur anywhere…anytime in 'no' time. Art can be seen as the contextualizing of an object…eg. A pickled sheep in an art museum…an onion on a plinth…by taking the object out of its natural context and putting it in a different context, the significance is changed, therefore the language that interprets it is changed, the object projects an intensity it wouldn't have in it's natural environment ie. In the flock or in a bag of other onions.

'The arrow is off the string but does not fly straight to the target, nor does the target stand where it is. '

Wherever I go….I might never get there…and I don't mind getting nowhere as long as it's an interesting path.


(Dimitri©1999 Kin Za©2002)
2002 All rights reserved to Kinzaza ©