Edited By Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach
Nature, a topic central to art history, is concurrently a dominant concept in contemporary art, art theory and its related disciplines such as cultural theory, philosophy, aesthetic theory and environmental studies. The project Naturally Hypernatural questions lines of tradition and predetermined categories that coexist with the topic of nature. Currently, nature in art surpasses the simple depiction of art as a material or object. To clarify and analyze the interrelations between nature and art is the aim of the project Naturally Hypernatural. Concepts of Nature – the first volume of this project – argues that contemporary art is predominantly concerned with concepts of nature regarding the depth of their implications in order to reveal and analyze their internal structure.
Flesh For Fantasy
Flesh for Fantasy is a song title by Billy Idol, where the word flesh takes on a sexual meaning. My focus, however, is much rather on nature, biotech and art. Flesh is an interesting material because it is living matter. We know many literary and mythological narrations about sculptures coming to life: stories about Prometheus and Pygmalion and many other stories from romantic, speculative and science fiction till the present day. I am not interested in creating a new homunculus, but in the processes of life, in metabolism, transformation, transmutation and transsubstantiation. For this reason, I see my works as narrations written in molecules.
Throughout the history of art, matter has been a deficit and a stigma. Fine art belonged to the artes mechanicae and not to the artes liberales. Immaterial art – like music or literature – had priority, but from the moment we speak of the molecular age, this deficit turns into a specific quality. Contemporary art can apply matter, material and materiality in a conceptual and in an actual way. I don’t like an arbitrary handling of materials. For example, the current trend of bronze sculptures happens more for market than for art reasons. But in fine arts matter is always a carrier of meaning and not an arbitrary thing. Materials are able to act coincidently as signifier and significate because art talks about matter not only in an iconic or symbolic way but also in a molecular way.
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