Re: [-empyre-] The Presence of Things (Aura)

On 20/6/03 7:33 am, "Melinda Rackham" <> wrote:

> but then painting made from elepant shit, or sculptures of chopped up cows
> are pretty popular in art commodity terms as well..
> maybe artists themselves manufacture aura..?
Artists can certainly be complicit in the manufacture of aura, as Hirst has
been. I am actually a big fan of his animal pieces (as an aestheist and
sceptic I really think Mother and Child Divided is one of the best pieces of
religious art of the second half of the 20th C.). At the same time I feel
his spin paintings are obvious examples of cynical market manipulation.
However, whilst I am able to concoct and project an aura onto his cows or
pigs and totally unable to do so with the paintings I am sure there are
plenty out there who have believed the hype and can do so. The aura is an
article of faith, as these things often are.

As Derrida points out, any text is only completely written when it has been
read. Interpretation is half the writing process. Aura is a product of this
final stage of is in the remit of the reader, not the
writer, to add this final layer of value to the work. Of course, the reader
is as much a product as anything (or anybody) else (a product of cultural
forces, if you are not cynical; a product of the marketing department if you
are) and this is where the artist, complicit with others, can seek to
maximise the likelihood of the reader playing the game to the artists
(marketing departments) advantage.

I like to believe that there are lots of artists out there who really
believe in their audiences and thus do not choose to go about things this
way...but then I wonder how honest I am being when I say that?



Simon Biggs

Research Professor
Art and Design Research Centre
Sheffield Hallam University, UK

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