Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saâdane Afif Prix Marcel Duchamp 2009 Anthologie De L’Humour Noir 15 September 3 January 2011 Centre Pompidou, Paris. by craniv boyd.

Saâdane Afif Prix Marcel Duchamp 2009 Anthologie De L'Humour Noir 15 September 3 January 2011 Centre Pompidou, Paris. by craniv boyd.


Did you see the exhibition of the winner of the art collector's prize this year?


Oh you mean the prize that was established a few years ago by an association of current art collectors who want to raise the profile of French current art abroad?


Yes that is the prize that I am talking about, did you see it?


Yes I did but the art work, I dunno… it seemed like an inside joke to me…


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Was it not Marcel Duchamp who once said that if Picasso lived in Africa and not 20th century Paris, he would not be Picasso? We are presented with an anthology of black humor, we are presented with a coffin made by an unknown African Ghanaian crafts man who could make your casket look like a rolls Royce or a hummer if you paid him enough to do it. We are in a room with many essays lining the walls and a candy colored naïve looking scale model of Renzo Piano's structure for the Pompidou Center, this model is a coffin and perhaps the corps inside is another casualty of overdose from excessive viewing the dangerous cocktail of text heavy conceptual art and irony.  Look for the coroners report for the post mortem of "death induced by boredom" in the exhibition literature. There was an international jury of James Cottrel, Gilles Fuchs, Dakis Joannou, Kasper Konig, Charlotte Laubard, Jacqueline Matisse-Monnier, and Alfred Pacqement who had the tall task to select a winner for France's answer to the United Kingdom's Turner Prize.


The work is best described as institutional critique without the critique, when an artist like Saâdane Afif, travels all the way to Ghana, West Africa, to commission an unnamed African crafts person to create a coffin in the likeness of the museum where the occidental developed world based artist is showing and celebrated. No the winner of the Prix Marcel Duchamp has cleverly worked in that time honored American postindustrial revolution tradition named "outsourcing". Travel to the developing world and pay the local crafts people to create the hand labor that is exotic and a childlike elegy of a western modern art museum, which the crafts person from Ghana is unlikely to have visited prior to this commission. Likewise utilize the intellectual capital and resources and outsource via a commission of the "white collar" skilled office work from various western based educated intellectuals with high-speed Internet connections, this is the work produced via the method of outsourcing, art work that at first glance looks like tongue in cheek commentary on modern art institutions, but on closer investigation is made in the kind of detached ironic and calculated manor employed by a creative executive at Nike, where western ideas collide with the unnamed un credited other who actually fabricates the objects, and the people who write about the art in this case as an addendum included in the visual display of the exhibition are also western, or developed world based rather than the developing world labor.


Strange that unlike Great Brittan, France would elect to name its prize to accrue the foreign notoriety of its artists, after a conceptual maverick artist who preemptively left France for the United States and New York City, before New York City was the locus of the Avant Garde. Why not name an art prize that is trying to be like the turner prize after a French painter contemporaneous with J M W Turner who worked with larger formats and anticipated modernism and painted abstraction, France has some of those guys don't they? With the choice of an artist who was almost an anti artist the founders of this prize for current art are more cutting than the cutting edge. By craniv boyd.      

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