Saturday, November 23, 2019

Venice 2019, Danh Vo, & at kurimanzutto

(Arsenale, kurimanzutto)

"Vo has acquired objects from the estate of Robert McNamara [...] This first contact with the McNamara family led their son Craig McNamara to befriend Vo and later gift him with a walnut orchard*, its timber destined to make rifle stocks. Instead, the timber has been used by the artist to make replicas of designer furniture or to be used raw and unfinished"

Remember "process orientated abstraction", those set of instructions - a conceptual rubric - that was enacted to be left as traces surfaces the painting? Spraying of fire extinguishers, extracting dyes from flowers, silvering paintings, et al. Vo's is the conceptual art version of that. Vo allows legend to become perfume, an adornment mystifying its objects. Like an unironic Jason Rhoades, exhibitions become spaces for the process of mythification. Whereas for Rhoades it was a  comic process of figurative trash becoming some hokey possibility for art, for Vo the pre-christened becomes involved in the permutations of further embedding it in objects. I think somewhere here there is a conflation of terms or ideas. The aura of art, of objects, is somehow smeltable, is made able to be repoured into new objects through a form of storytelling. Vo is a factory for this witchcraft, for the production of belief in these ghosts. This is not to denigrate storytelling, or myth, but that somehow (through conceptual art) we've equated the aura of art with the mythologizing of objects with a narrative, a press release. Replaced something's raison d'être with any reason for being whatsoever. What exactly do the walnut tables actually contain?

*According the Guardian, Vo was gifted 10 hectares of lumber, not an actual orchard. (24.7 acres of Sierra Orchard's 450. Though some of this acreage is dedicated to olive oil and other things. However, according to Time Out London, this was all the wood from a recent clearing.)