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Monthly Archives: March 2013

“Wearing the same combination of light blue shirt and jeans as she did 18 years ago, Swinton was watched by hundreds of people while she slept in a glass box at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on Saturday.
Little has changed since the exhibit first appeared in 1995, with the notable exception of a pair of glasses next to Swinton on the mattress
Arms crossed and lying on her side with her eyes closed, Swinton did little to amuse the crowds but is due to appear again on six further occasions this year – but the public will get no warning. A MoMA statement said: “Those who find it chance upon it for themselves, live and in real – shared – time.””

– Sam Masters (The Independent)

A work like the “The Visitors” has all the strengths of the classical Romantic sensibility, and some of its potential weak points too. It offers a glimpse into a more ecstatic world; you really want to be these people, be invited to this party. It dwells in a kind of self-enclosed universe, spellbound by images of otherwordly artists and majestic decay. Like classic Romanticism, which arose as a kind of personalistic reaction to European industrialization, such a neo-Romantic temperament draws its power as an implicit reproach of the kind of dispirited, non-ecstatic lives we normally live. Unalloyed, of course, this sort of thing might also become a kind of cloying, self-involved theater — indeed, you might even say that Kjartansson subtly thematizes the sense of wallowing in fantasy, since being stuck in art is a theme, both in this film with its endless, trance-like choruses, and in his work more generally. It’s this minor-key background note that lets “The Visitors” resonate as both out of time and of its time at once.

Ragnar Kjartansson’s “Visitor’s” (Artinfo Review)

“… Art is perceived through the senses first, and probably also second and third. Small details have profound sensible impacts, no matter how thoroughly an artwork is motivated by concepts or plans. And though we may not always be drawn in by quiet artworks on silent walls, we cannot have lost our human capacity to be moved. If Freud suggested a structure to consciousness, he also offered a model for its depth: much experience remains beneath our immediate awareness. The entire complex of “feeling”—materiality, sensation, affect, sensibility—is inevitably percolating in our experience (as are thoughts), so we needn’t worry, or even wonder, about whether words will win. 

The question is: do we dare to acknowledge that realm beyond thought, to explore that unmoored ocean of the senses? If we focus too strongly on critical angles or sensationalism, we may miss opportunities to dive more deeply into reality.”

Karen Schiff (Brooklyn Rail article)