Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nanoart: a sublime experience

The following pages include a few passages taken from the texts included in the Nanoart catalogue, edited by Stefano Raimondi and published by Skira. The catalogue was published to mark the exhibition on Nanoart, Seeing the invisible (Bergamo, 2 – 21 October 2007) which included seven Nano artworks by Alessandro Scali and Robin Goode, and one by Grit Ruhland.

“Nanoart pushes us a step forward: it cancels our direct vision of the image, eliminates the superiority acquired through sight. Paradoxical and provocative, as in the case of every revolutionary artistic movement. The paradox is that it offers a “non vision” of a visual art. (…) And herein lies the radical nature of the proposal: viewers are called on to contribute personally to the creation of the artwork. With the help of a title, which acts as a foothold and sets the context, viewers must finally use their inner eye and stoke up their imagination that has been stymied and penalised by excessive, invasive external images.”

Stefano Raimondi – Nanoart: outside this world, into the infinite (p. 17, Nanoart catalogue)

“If we take into consideration the objects on display in this exhibition and the idea of invisible art in general, it is clear that we cannot place them in that context of a liking of perception that constitutes the pleasure of pictorial texts. We are in that area of communications where the object of representation is both placed and removed at the same time – it is placed to be removed, and removed because of how it is placed – which characterises what is probably the main current of art in contemporary art since the time of Duchamp, if not earlier. We are in a perverse area, where perception is prompted but impeded, and the impossibility of direct vision constitutes grounds for seduction/sedition, provocation and rejection. In short, it is a play on the very pre-conditions of enjoying an object as a representation, and moreover an intentional representation according to the socially conditioned method of artistic representation. For this reason, the taste of these works is enjoyment and, as such, always potential, always complete/ incomplete, always interrogatory. At least while the response required by all enjoyment – not by every pleasure – lasts, the willingness to question oneself and to become involved, with attention and curiosity, and wonder – the origin of philosophy, science and even artistic “enjoyment”.

Ugo Volli – The effect of the invisible. Pleasure and history (p. 23, Nanoart catalogue)

“In our case, contrary to the blindness of habit, visitors to the Nanoart exhibition experience their own blindness compared to the exhibits themselves on display. A short circuit that in my opinion produces rare goods: it makes you think. Thinking for example about how precarious and how unfounded man’s dominion is over the surrounding world, which we are accustomed to believing that we occupy.”

Mauro Carbone – Two or three things that I (don’t) know about Nanoart (p. 25, Nanoart catalogue)

“It strikes me that, over and beyond the question of which medium to use, the artists’ intention is to give the visitor a real aesthetic experience with all its contradictions and complexities. (…) This is no trick perception, no optical or geometric illusion or trompe l’oeil. Instead, we are inside our awareness of a limit, that of visual perception, and its liberation, through a medium created by man. Nothing is more sublime, since this experience combines amazement, admiration, fear, bewilderment.”

Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis – A sublime experience (p. 31, Nanoart catalogue)

At this point, what can be said about a form of art that by definition cannot be perceived? There is a radical contradiction between NanoArt and aesthetics. We are dealing with an art form that a priori evades the senses and therefore seems to place itself outside aesthetics, in a zone of sensorial incommunicableness. Having been denied, aesthetics is undermined.

Piero Bianucci – Communicating science, communicating art (p. 34, Nanoart catalogue)

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