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Reduce art flies by peterfuchs
September 15, 2008, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:
Reduce Art Flies by Gustav Metzger

Reduce Art Flies by Gustav Metzger

RAF / Reduce Art Flights is a campaign which upholds that the art world – artists, curators, critics, gallerists, collectors, museum directors, etc. – could or should diminish its use of aeroplanes. It was initiated by the artist Gustav Metzger.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang once decided to visit the brothers Boisserée, for closer inspection of an artwork from their collection – he traveled for two weeks to the brothers mansion, and after arrival, was escorted to a empty studio, in which only the painting which he desired to investigate was exhibited. The master carefully studied the painting and then, without a taking a glance to the rest of the paintings, traveled back to Weimar.Four weeks at least for a single image, fascinating isn’t it?  What about nowadays, should Goethe, or a theoretician or critic like him would attend to all of the 140.000 contemporary art exhibition we have, and would he/she use an old, four horse driven coach ? And what about the rest of the participants of the Art world?

Nowadays Art world is an industry, which is held together with an notion of territorial and conceptual agreement – we are international, we speak the same language of the Art world (by the means of institutions), we know no frontiers nor boundaries, our visual language in universal.
This internationalism is an inherent part of the media ever since the Renaissance period, – and the action radius of what we consider to be the part of it extends ever since, with the advancement of technlogy – so there is noting bad with this. Contemporary art exhibitions has the same right to be curated in a freshly built glass sculpture/museum in the middle of the Dubai desert and in the hundred years old institutions of the Venice biennial. Basel, Kassel, Dubai, San Paulo, Taipei, Bilbao, London, New York, Paris, Los Angles, Miami, etc. are part of a large network of an universal media, the contemporary art scene.

The aims of Gustav Metzger’s project, RAF are quite clear. We might interpret is as a satirical artwork, as many of Metzger’s previous ones, but even as a matter of fact proposition it is forces us to re-think, on how this Artworld works. Does it’s internationals fails if we cut the speed of the interaction with it, by the means of slowing down our pace of visiting international exhibitions, events? What happens if we use the speed of Goethe, who spent four weeks for a single artwork?

Meztger with this project quietly remarks the almost insane level of plurality, or even overgrowth of the art world system. We are as much dependent to the fast territorial dislocation of the airplane to keep doing our work as “artists, curators, critics, gallerists, collectors, museum directors, etc.” as we are dependent on any other aspect of networking, studying, working in it.
By slowing down our speed of travels on behalf of the environment we does not automatically revert to the speed of Goethe, but inevitably change our perception of the entire exhibition system. By reducing flies, we might reconsider each and every oversees travel (in the age of Marcel Duchamp nobody flew an airplane, still New York and Paris was well synchronized on regards of artistic doings, take the Armory Show for example, yet the same could was not true to Beijing, for obvious reason), and replace continental travels with a much slower – and none the less cheaper, – alternative.
But this should mean a reconsideration of how we define the international art scene, or a re-articulation of its mediation.
This small proposition by Meztger in fact has a much more powerful message, beyond environmentalism: According to him, we, the Art World have to reconsider our territorial means, or invent new means of interaction, as the speed he recommends to us belongs to a Art World we seems to left behind in an earlier century. Should we therefore reconsider our entire conduct in this field, or just signal some environmental issues then move on?

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