Art 21 Films: CONSUMPTION
The Kathmandu Contemporary Art Centre and ART 21 bring to bear the modern pre-occupation with consumption on a small gathering of Art 21 enthusiasts.
Artists: Michael Ray Charles, Mathew Barney, Andrea Zittel & Mel Chin
John McEnroe, who once “played tennis like an artist,” asks a loaded question in the introduction: “What is consumption?”
Each of the artists showcased in the ‘Artumentary’ raise questions about the socio-cultural assumptions appropriated to explain and excuse our consumptive reality and condition.
The human condition often finds its critical behavior patterns subsumed by factors such as race, history, colour, gender, socio-economic backdrop and “the emotional presence of the past.” Each artist also seeks to use artistic precepts for presenting a “fundamental understanding of life.”
Physicality and sensibility are explored. “Violence is sublimated into form.” “Variety becomes more oppressive than continuity.”
As basic yet crucial aspects of life, human values and perceptions are arguments for better understanding and “transformation.” A dying culture and a living reality are used together in an astounding video project – we do need to pay more attention to patterns and symbols and preservation.
The act of creating, then, is not a sufficient and suitable premise for living with - and within - excessive and wasteful consumption.
Interpretations, to this Art 21 showcase, will, most certainly, differ and abound. However, the audience could find a liberating facet of thematically-driven art in the 21st Century. The art work themselves - the collection of 50 miniature carriages; a film about the racecourse with horses in spandex body suits; a domestic situation artistically depicted in contraction; the reconstruction of an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit – point to many shifting modern paradigms and also serve as a wake-up call to the ‘human comfort ideal’ of modern times.