I just read an article on Stuff.com which describes a new artwork in the Auckland Art Gallery. It was called The Ability to Blow themselves up.
The article questions whether or not this particular “performance art” can indeed be considered art. well I just wanted to put my two cents in and to say I believe it can. Something that I love about art is it’s ability to transform either through each individual’s own interpretation of the work (thus the reason I don’t like giving people the idea behind my art if I can help it), or through an actual transformation of the work from interpreting the location of the work in relation to the work itself or the artwork changing with age or time.
This artwork was considered “performance art” and the very nature of it suggests something fleeting and something that moves or is performative, so watching something happen. I think that this work (though I’ve not seen it live) MUST be something that you watch happen and Must therefore be considered a performance (as it was intended to be viewed by others) and Art being such a broad topic as well it could easily fit into this category too.
Just reading about the actual work I thought, WOW! That’s something I would love to see. I really love the idea of something so fleeting that you might miss it. Something that suggests itself before you’ve even arrived at the site of the work (the resounding BANG! through the gallery) and I love things that make people think “really?! Is that art?” and start a conversation, of course this is exactly what “art” is meant to do. (Fine art may have different motives, or perhaps the same motives but for a different time period).
I can imagine this work being something that you hear before you see and that you seek out. I can imagine seeing these oddly shaped balloons being blown up in this space and wondering if it really is meant to be here (Like Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain) or if someone has just been naughty, and I can imagine the “performers” laughing and giggling at blowing up these balloons and struggling and then the squeals as they pop. I imagine that this artwork would instill images of my own childhood, evoking memories and visions past, again something that art often does (being relateable, and often personal) and I imagine the sharp and resounding bang would certainly provide a reaction in the viewer (whether predictable or not) which again is something that art will ALWAYS try to do.
Then if you want to look at this work from the level of the Title providing meaning (which often art uses) various meanings are exposed. It suggests to me someone working so hard to develop something and really all they ever succeed in doing is harming themselves and their own people. For example creating the atom bomb, well that was somebodie’s hard hard work and all that was achieved was killing tons of people. “The ability to Blow themselves up”.