Reports

It’s almost as if everything has already happened. Even art has ceased linear developement, its teleology forcing its practitioners to search for the new (quality, work, artist, medium). Freed from expectation, art returns to its past by way of its detailed reexamination. Individual returns to certain moments in art history not only scrutinize specific formal or thematic aspects, they reflect on the very condition of art after the end of its history. It is as if we have ceased to relate ourselves to history through an engaged or active stance, choosing to adopt a more detached view. This Flaneurian attitude leaves us with a different time in respect to both art history and its reception. Our almost archeological preoccupation with the past becomes ever more profound, drawing the viewer inside the abyss of a past future.
Usually we associate thinking about the end of art or its “post-history” with readymades, conceptual artworks or even new media. In fact the idea was from its inception (W.G.F. Hegel) to its pinnacle (Arthur Danto) closely interconnected with painting. While this medium has been broadly viewed as forming a self-enclosed conservative tradition in relation to postmedia art, we want to recontextualize it within the framework of an end of art.
Arthur Danto locates his version of an end of art within pop art and connecting it with his own iconic encounter with Brillo Boxes. The historical pinnacle of critical art consisted in reflecting the edge between an artwork and an ordinary object. According to Danto, after engaging this boundary art lost the possibility of any linear development and moved into a pluralistic “postnarrative” or “posthistorical” stage: “The postnarrative era offers an immense menu of artistic choices (…). Within the hospitable and elastic disjunction, certainly there is room for painting and even for abstract or monochrome painting.“
Let us notice that Danto is preoccupied specifically with the lasting possibility of monochromes and on a general level he tends to trace the end of art in painting reflecting popular and mass media. Both traits can be in a peculiar way attributed to Daniel Vlček. His creative method is based on using gramophone records unfolding its circular shape into a distinctive visual syntax. Hence we can see it as certain postcritical reassessment of the old mass medium. Music and its perception are reframed in a vicarious gesture of the re-aesthetisation of a form belonging to media’s past. A posthistory of the gramophone meets its counterpart in the field of painting.
Levi Van Veluw deals with the past and its aesthetic potential even more radically. In his latest series, The Collapse of Cohesion, he resurrects the very process of an end. The force of an image is simultaneously reenacted as an elusive event and aesthetic timelessness. Abstract, yet intimate and dark interiors present temporal cohesion, childhood, imagination as well as labor or even a system of knowledge set in motion within a peculiar momentum.
Just as there is no brink of the collapse, so there is no end of art – there is just the everlasting process. And if there is or has been anything like an end of art, we have definitely passed such a moment.
 
Václav Janoščík

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