"Is it art?" And then the natural follow-on "What is Art?" This is the chain of reaction that ignites the minute I am confronted with highly conceptual art. And such reaction, despite the fact that much of 20th century art has swung on this squeaky hinge, continues to vex, to compel me into the experience.
I think we can all agree that Smart is terribly hard to pull off, especially when it boils down to a one liner. I guess it is best said that smart is in the mind of the beholder, but it takes courage, or perhaps arrogance, to posit that a coil of bailing wire placed just so on a white wall does hold weight and substance. I look; I like. But why for god's sake? Is this a discussion of labor or constraint? Zen aesthetic or political statement? Am I being asked to enjoy a black circle on the wall or to shuck off the binding chains of object love? Hard to tell. I stand before the mock stretcher bars of a painting done in brown ribbon and wonder if painting is finally dead, no longer able to support itself. Or maybe it is now considered woman’s work.
I circle to the sound piece, a large black speaker a la rock concert turned on its side jauntily holding court at the forefront of the gallery. I wait and listen. A drum roll builds louder and louder moving towards its final moment until – nothing – the punctuating finish (a pow on the cymbals) has been removed. A lot of fanfare but no defining point - like shooting blanks. Perhaps that is the point. These and other questions may be a reason to go to this exhibit, and to ponder. Aloïs Godinat was born in 1978 in Geneva, Switzerland. He lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.
--Georgia Fee, Editor in Chief, living in Paris
(Images: Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chez Valentin)