Monday, November 7, 2011

Partial Works

           I recently saw a video on the metropoliton museum of art website for Islamic art curator Navina Haidar where she "extols the implications and aesthetics of the broken or incomplete". Great 4 minute video that tours the viewer through a collection of fragments in the museums collection. Beautifully photographed fantastic objects that really do create their unique narrative through there partiality.

View video HERE

          I had a professor in college named George Ferrandi who had a huge impact on me. I remember one day a students getting into a debate over the visual elements and choices of a particular artist that was in the gallery at the time and George chimed in with the question. "What is more beautiful, a porcelain doll, or a porcelain doll that has been broken and put back together?" As a young undergrad just getting into art this question really challenged me. Not just for the aesthetic debate but also the question of intentionality. I responded with a question, asking if the person broke the doll on purpose? Was it found or was the person assembling it the original owner?  For some those things didn't matter. But they did to me in order to form an opinion. To this day I believe that the development of context and a conceptual framework is so important to the works in which we view.  Of course there are some minor exceptions I have found myself in the middle of but they are very rare.
         I found Navina Haidar's statements to be really interesting, especially in the context of her job as a curator. The ideas of self producing narratives with incomplete objects, filling in gaps with pleasure rather than questions, I found these practices fascinating to me.  She talks about the cultural context that weighs upon finished works falls away when things are abbreviated.  What an interesting thought that the less information you have the more liberated you can be.

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