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josefina posch at liquid blue

Post #484 • March 2, 2005, 6:57 AM • 21 Comments

Stay in this art criticism business long enough, and the day will come that you have to give a negative review to someone you like just fine as a person, and too bad for you.

The sculptures of Josefina Posch, currently on display at Liquid Blue, evince a coldness of execution beyond her whitewashed surfaces. She flogs a metaphor likening semen and milk, while riffing on the various methods of extracting and transporting both. Tubing, little sucking mouths, rubber gloves, and baby bottle nipples are prominent throughout her works. Some kind of extended comment is being made on the primal nature of consumerism, but to no convincing end, alas.

A video work shows Posch's mental way of working - a stripper practicing her craft, played fast-motion and in reverse next to a foggy view of a lake, is meant to illustrate Kierkegaard's model of the personality as layered like an onion. Even after Posch was kind enough to explain this to me, it still didn't work. The stripper's perfunctory performance didn't convey any urgency, philosophical or otherwise, but unfortunately characterized much of the work in the show. Posch's best piece was a room-sized installation of nippled sacks hanging from tubes, which indicates a need for greater ambitions. I believe that Gigeresque levels of intricacy and violation are called for.

Photos courtesy the artist.

Comment

1.

oldpro

March 2, 2005, 3:48 PM

Why bother.

2.

catfish

March 2, 2005, 3:54 PM

Yes, many are called, few are chosen. In time, however, this artist may see the light.

3.

Jack

March 2, 2005, 6:02 PM

This is issue and/or message art. It may be valid for the artist, and it may speak to those who share her issues and concerns. It does not, however, give me what I seek from art. If I wanted something like this, I could just hang around clinics and certain doctors' offices. It is cold, plastic and very limited or narrow. The Dokumenta crowd may like it, but that's their business, not mine.

4.

Momoko

March 2, 2005, 6:54 PM

Wait a minute! "Kierkegaard's model of the personality as layered like an onion" ?

I am a big fan of Kierkegaard, but in which book does he use an onion as a model? Layers? Layers are okay, but like an onion? I don't think so. Is that Soren Kierkegaard, or other kierkegaard that I do not know? Do I need to re-read Kierkegaard? I hope not.

5.

oldpro

March 2, 2005, 7:17 PM

Geez, Momoko, one Kierkegaard is enough!

Philosophers love onions and artichokes. The "layers of the onion" thing goes back to Hegel & Heigigger and then the Existentialists got ahold of it and worked it to death. Kierkegaard, if I recall correctly, liked the idea that the peel was simply a discardable "cover" of the "self", whereas Whitehead liked the "layers of self" that sort of peeled away to nothing.

In any event, this kind of strained analogy gives me a headache.

6.

Hovig

March 2, 2005, 7:57 PM

I agree with catfish (even if he's being facile, which I couldn't tell). Ms Posch is expressive and capable of artistic expression (if not exactly original). The question is whether she can resolve her inner conflicts and produce more refined and meaningful expressions.

First off, "consumerism" is a non-starter. That's just life. We need something a bit more specific. And "personality is layered like an onion" is just life too. Again, we need a little more.

The photo clip of the young lady above is a propos. (Dare I say it's a proxy for the artist?) She's expressing herself very personally, and begging for our attention. And all around her is -- well -- fog.

This juxtaposition seems to represent the artist in a nutshell. She can seek attention in the short term, but she won't necessarily get commitment in the long term. She can emit primitive signals, but it won't necessarily lead to complex human narratives. She can express herself according to the dictates of a thin, insular view of society, but it will keep her away from a deeper, more expansive and universal view. As the stripper sheds her clothes, the artist's got to burn off the fog. Sometimes that's the scariest part of expressing yourself.

Ms Posch is expressive and artistic, so it should be interesting to see how (if) she resolves all this. I don't think it's happened yet. She has expressed herself as she is, but I don't think she's allowed many people to find themselves in her expressions. The real question is, once she burns off the fog, will she still have the need to express herself. That's the test.

7.

Jack

March 2, 2005, 8:21 PM

For me, art must work successfully on a purely visual level, apart from meaning. If it does not, it has failed me as visual art. If all an artist really offers is an idea or message, s/he may just as well write me a letter.

8.

oldpro

March 2, 2005, 9:51 PM

Yeah, jack.

This is just more of the same old. I don't want to see rubbery/plasticy things lined up in a row, not ever again, no matter who does it. It was corny when Eva Hesse did it a generation ago.

Maybe Franklin will put up something we can look at.

Something difficult to talk about.

9.

Momoko

March 2, 2005, 11:24 PM

"Something we can look at" and "something difficult to talk about"

What about Gaijin Calligraphy?

10.

oldpro

March 2, 2005, 11:31 PM

I don't know nothin' about it, Momoko, but I have always liked the idea of calligraphy and have found that there are distinct differences in quality.

It certainly would be more interesting than plants covered with wax (or whatever) and bloated torso thingies with tubes coming out of them.

11.

Momoko

March 3, 2005, 12:07 AM

I was just trying to harass Franklin by nagging for his calligraphy since he officially informed us that he went to get some training for that.

With calligraphy, I must quite from Jack's comment, "art must work successfully on a purely visual level, apart from meaning." I think it is best if an artist uses the language that s/he knows well for the sake of convenience. I don’t agree with Gaijin struggling to learn Chinese or Japanese characters. In other words, if you write "Potato Head" in English very beautifully and creatively, that will do.  

12.

Momoko

March 3, 2005, 12:09 AM

I meant "I must quote from Jack's comment"

13.

catfish

March 3, 2005, 12:29 AM

Hovig said: "I agree with catfish (even if he's being facile, which I couldn't tell)."

Thanks. I'm not trying to be facile. I could have been more precise, though, and said "this artist may receive the light". "Seeing it" is a start, but not sufficient. Ultimately, it requires inspiration. And she may just get there after working her way through all this trendy stuff.

14.

kenneth cohen

March 3, 2005, 12:51 AM

Bloated torso thingies with tubes coming out of them is way more intersting to look at than Gaijin Calligraphy. I actually saw this show in person, and left a little empty/horny.. Other than that , it seemed unfinished. She did have a sound piece with a reverberating mic through a nipple thing that produced a lingering affect. I also saw the movie Pollok yesterday.. that was killer.

15.

oldpro

March 3, 2005, 3:07 AM

Horny, Kenneth? Horny?

Now, there's an interesting reaction.

What did you think of the Pollock Movie?

16.

Jack

March 3, 2005, 3:27 AM

Franklin, I think the Gaijin calligraphy should be produced forthwith, and the Goldman Warehouse show photos should follow as soon as possible thereafter. Momoko and I, among others, deserve something we can bite our teeth into, as opposed to stare at blankly while thinking "So, where's the beef?"

17.

Franklin

March 3, 2005, 3:50 AM

Here's the deal - my computer has been acting flaky and lately hasn't been talking to my camera. I have two usable images from the Olitski show, courtesy their PR person, neither of which are the recent work I really want to talk about. Which means tomorrow, don't know, Friday, roundup, Monday, Rauschenberg at MAM, Tuesday, Miro books at A&CC, Wednesday, gaijin calligraphy, Thursday, Olitski show. I'm anxious to get into it as well but I don't want to do it half-assed.

On the other hand, something totally different may happen. Thank you for your patronage.

18.

Jack

March 3, 2005, 5:46 AM

Momoko raises an interesting issue in #11. I think it depends on whether the artist is merely copying or imitating something versus being inspired by it. This applies both cross-culturally and within the same cultural tradition. Ultimately, I suppose it comes down to how talented and creative the artist is. Mindless or mechanical imitation is of little worth, but inspiration is another matter, because it involves the artist taking something s/he genuinely responds to and identifies with and making it personal and individual--thus transforming it without denying it.

The greatest artists have done this. It is the foolish ones who presume to owe nothing to no one, to be utterly "new and different," as if those things meant anything by themselves. Inspiration must come from something, from somewhere. It is not possible to create out of a void, unless one claims to be God.

It is also possible, given the requisite aptitude and diligence, to master something one was not born into, though diligence alone is not enough.

19.

BOOTS

March 4, 2005, 5:44 AM

I love the fact that this artist has opened a "discussion".

I was there I spoke to the artist and i believe no one here understands the work.

The exhibition was beautiful her work both sculptors and video flowed very well together. It was great. I have not seen anything like this artist or this show here in miami where art is very superficial and not interesting aka BRITTO. Ms Posch is a great artist and im very superised with what Mr Franklin had to say.

20.

Jack

March 4, 2005, 7:22 PM

Understanding something does not make it good, bad or in between. It just means it's understood for what it is, whatever that may be.

21.

jake

March 13, 2005, 4:15 PM

Well, first of all i would like to express my newness and excitement of discovering this forum. it is what we (artlovers {and i hope that implicitly includes artists})need, to talk to each other. I guess the convenience of the computer is nice, but nicer would be to do it in person. Maybe who knows.......a gathering after a while. but anyways, about the show. most of all i took it in as such, a whole show, an effect. Although it didnt have a label, the gallery front windows were great. The white wall with peek holes was very nice and inclusive. Assuming an average height, you really had to bend down to see in, and it felt authorized/invited. i hope this is not a faux pas, that this wasmore of a curatorial decision. Anyhow, the general effect once inside was just this kind of blank The Matrix program frame. Since the pieces are predominantly white it really required a kind of turn and face it to be able to see it. I do agree with just about every previous comment though about content and technique. But really, dont look for why it should not be doneor why it is not transcendental, the most useful critical angle is the "an artist in growth....always." Remember everything is transcendental, it is the viewer who decides.

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