Manuchan Catherine thinks about Сontexualizm:
Contextualism is a direction of contextual art which explores the interconnection between existing things, spaces, objects (all things which have some names) in the environment of such interconnections.
That means: Contextualism states that a canvas of an artist can exist only being in the interconnection with the biogrphy of the artist, with the museum where it is exhibited, with outdoor weather, with babushka-keeper sitting on a small chair in the corner, with a small stool itself, with politics & economics...
Contextualism doesn’t deny the object, it studies the object by means of the environment – it’s the method of contexualism. The method of contexualism asserts that nothing can exist without dependence on its context & moreover: the context forms an object or phenomenon.
That means: the method of Contextualism claims that the artist’s canvas doesn’t exist without artist’s biography,museum where it is exhibited, without the rain in the street, with babushka-keeper sitting on a small chair in the corner, without her squeaking chair, with politics & economics...
Contextualism doesn’t produce works-objects representing themselves, but only instruments-objects which help to represent this or that context, environment as a work of art. Contextualism sets a task to tell the spectator about the environment, to comprehend it as art,& art object is used as a point of reading of this environment. Contexualizm is a kind of spectacles which make us use only lateral/sidelong eyesight.
That means: an art object in the tradition of contextualizm represents like art the biography of its creator, rain in the street, with babushka-keeper sitting on a small chair in the corner, without her squeaking chair politics & economics, everything except itself. The most obvious example of contexual picture is a mirror. Or transparent glass. Or the light. Or photo-video shooting in real time.
The ideal of contextual art is considered to be a work (environment) which represents itself fully in its context: in past, present & future history; from the appearance to disappearance & further regenerations. The masterpiece of contextual art is considered a work which is close to the ideal.
Contextualism is always a dynamic process which is self-changing in constantly changing life conditions. Contextualism is a fragment in the eternal striving to become whole, to exhaust the fullness of whole.
That means: an art object in the tradition of contextualizm represents as art rain in the street today, snow yesterday, today - a babushka-keeper, tomorrow - a grand-father.
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Contextualism is not a compromise between artist’s desire to create new symbols & abundance of symbols in the modern art & world.
For example, an architect-contextualist is designing a fully plate-glass/smooth building in the center of an old city (so that not to destroy the environment, ancient poetics) not as a compromise between ambitions of individuality & the given conditions but as embodiment of its ecological world-outlook philosophy. If he could, he would like to materialize an old building in this very place, but he estimates his capacity practically & doesn’t want to make up properties, that’s why.
He makes up a creative decision. If he could find a method to materialize an old building, it would be a masterpiece of Contextualism.
So it becomes quite clear this unsettled attitude of contextualizm culture to the culture of postmodernism. Contextualism creates objects or a situation which represents existing symbols but don’t produce new symbols. Postmodernism creates from existing symbols new ones which represent themselves & at their background the history of their creation. For postmodernism the aim is size of production, for contextualism it’s ecology of production, ecology in all meanings.
Postmodernism represents an individuality of a postmodernist in environmental circumstances. Contextualism shows environmental circumstances at the same time trying to remove an individuality of contextualist.
The aim of contextualist is «overindividuality».
The physicist Capra gives an example of a bicycle to explain the essence of ecological outlook:
We cab see in a bicycle a functional whole & understand interconnection of its parts (holistic approach). The ecological point of view also includes this approach, however it adds an idea how the bicycle is correlated with the environmental & sociable sphere – where does the material it is made of come from, how is it made, how its usage influences the environment & the society where it is being used & so on. This difference between “holistic” & “ecological” become even more obvious when we start speaking about living systems for which the bounds with environment are extensively important, - states Capra.
Contexualism is one of methods of embodiment of ecological approach in art.
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Contextualism is not a symbol, but a principle. It’s just the same principle like contextualism, & like postmodernism. Contextualism doesn’t work with a thing but it deals with the environment of this thing in the art diminution. That’s why one of prior spheres of contextualism will be art- get-together. Art- get-together (statesmen, critics, institutions, galleries, market) – as a material for the art, compiling situations both inside the get-together & outside, artistically merging influential zones on multy-coloured palette of a modern society divided into clans.
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Contextualism doesn’t teach & doesn’t dominate over the spectator. It’s impossible to teach somebody to do something. The spectator gets everything by himself, improves himself. Any pressure the direction of which coincide or not & then will go other way from the vector’s direction chosen by a man, willl cause negative response reaction. The teacher hwo stops mental development together with his pupil sooner or later will become a "jailer”.
Contextualism escorts his spectator, develoing together with him, even as if it can’t keep up with him.
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Illusion is a term of virtual reality. Reality is a kind of illusion which is being taken as a starting-point.
A point is reality. A look from a point is reality. A look at the point is illusion: the sum of all possible contexts.
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Contextualism doesn’t give anu answers but at the same time doesn’t put any questions.
It just change visual angle. It collects points of seeing.
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Contextualism invents a principle but not a symbol.
Methods of contextualism are reforming, readjusting, estrangement, reintegration, recooperation, reconsolidation, effect of non-perfect action.
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Space is determined by borders – “in front of space”.
Space is determined by an element – “from space”.
Every picture, any objrct – is “from space”. Such space is limited by the capacities of organs of sense or by the might of knowledge.
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Installation deals with space – it’s an artistic architecture without utilitarian function.
Performance works with people space –architecture of communication.
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Energy is gathered by creativity (by self-creation). The representation of this process is spending of energy. A question is raised about keeping the gathered energy & moderation in its expenditure. To be a background. Non-doing without loosing concentration. To think not by a thing but by context.
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Any art, for example, performance – is at the same time art-event & social event. Understanding it this way, we should regard art the same. For example, the explosion in America September,11 we can regard as a social event or a performance. But art-aspect of this explosion is dramatically inferior to a social aspect, that’s why it’s non-art.
In this way we can sense the border between art & non-art, estimating any event by context.
Any art we can consider as an event of art-sallon & as space cognition.
To sense the border of these concepts, we should ask themselves the folloing question: What impresses me about this thing?, then we shoul subdivide this question into 2 questions: What can I see? & What am I cognizing?
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Absolutely historical space.
I’d like to create such an exhibition space the walls or borders of which separating it from the outdoor space would be absolutely historical energetically, psychologically & materially.
How can we be sure in the high quality of an experiment, if the space where it is carried out is not cognized by us (not ideal). Probably, in such space the experiment ( relying on its technological purity) can come out as anti-experiment.
The philosophy of this thesis comes from the idea that nothing can be created by destruction as it’s a vicious circle, if only we haven’t realized destruction as creation, but for this firstly it’s necessary to get to know destruction( to become aware of it).
Giving pain you are not able to give joy. Such joy will turn out as intensified sorrow.
For example, can we consider a wonderful Isaac Cathedral to be so beautiful, knowing it was raised on the bones of its’ builders? Is this a creation, if we consider creation to be a work, when behind its facade there are destroyed peoples’ lives?
For example, can some text be regarded as making good if there is profit & violence, or only one word – “dirt” or “evil”, which bring negative associations. The conclusion at the end of such text is not important, what is important is the text-body, its structure. Even if there is only one word “dirt” - it’s already a dirty text ( & the very paragraph of our essay is spoilt).
If we strive for creation ( absolute of being & self-creation), for cognition, so our work should take into consideration new nuances: not only the sense of our action but also its structure & especially the contest.
If to illustrate the idea of absolute creation by art, I’d like to make absolute exhibition space , so to create context, the experimental space. To form space means to create its borders. From what? What possesses positively crystal history? It’s clear that existing materials are not good for that, as we cannot follow their history. Where is the and in the cement of our house from? Where is steal from for iron covering the roof of our house? It’s obvious that the borders of our space we have to generate from “nothing”. Probably grow plants... But even if we leave the soil & the roots out of the experiment, then how can we control the history of substances, water, light, which the plants absorbed, & from which plant-borders were built. We can’t let all these facts out of the experiment, as it would be improvident formalism, destroying the sense of this experiment. It’s just the same if we say that the history of a ceramic cup doesn’t have any relation to the history of clay from which it was created, & that there was purification by fire. According to our conception, the fire will be one of the spheres og cup-searching; what kind of fire was it?
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