U3 | Jože Barši: Telesa na/poti

Jože Barši

Telesa na/poti

x/o (1997-2016), 2016


Artist's statement:

The Gap between Departing and Arriving Demons/Suppositions

I will focus on one of the concepts that seems most archaic and contaminated in the framework of contemporary artistic practices—the concept of the sublime, and examine whether the concept of sublimation is still useful or operative in contemporary art. This introduction implies a kind of reservation towards the concept which comes from artistic practices of the 1990s that did not look favorably on the sublime (here, I mainly refer to a part of modernism, e.g. sublime painting). My position in this respect is therefore not neutral at all. Namely, in modernism, sublime was anything that was unwanted by contemporary artistic practices. Glorification, mysteriousness, awe, the cult of the high, “beyond the comfort zone”—these associations related to the sublime were completely foreign to the generations of artists of the 1990s. We were much closer to the anti-retinal art which Duchamp spoke about, as opposed to the art “accessible only to the sight” which was thought to be too formalistic. In a way, the 1960s idea of an art that is free of formal rules and associates with the fight for political freedoms is still alive today and at first glance it is as such hard to reconcile with the concept of sublimation. After all, the idea was born in mid-18th century (Burke, Kant, etc.), a time when the art as practiced today was virtually unknown. If the concept of sublimation acted in a manner that sought to liberate the “threatening” world, or even better, to domesticate the world, and became less operative in relation to the “liberated” world, then I wonder if it is not becoming popular again as we turn into the vast cosmic outer space, which is terrifying in its dimensions yet attractive at the same time…


Translated by Darja Horvatič