Laura Gascoigne: Is It The Real World Or An Exercise? – November 2016

The Ukrainians have a lot of empty plinths where statues of Lenin once stood and last July, taking a leaf out of the Gormley Sutra, steps were erected around the one in Kiev’s Bessarabska Square so that people could climb up to admire the view and/or take selfies. The installation, Inhabiting Shadows, was

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the work of Mexican artist Cynthia Gutiérrez, apparently intended to prompt reflection on “imposed memory, system failure, emptiness, identity, and
this game. Elsewhere google_ad_height = 90; in the Ukraine, protestors have filled the vacuum: in Odessa, Lenin’s place has been taken by Darth Vader (right). Which of these gestures seems the more artistic? One has humour, the other a pretentious title, but both make similar points, the first more forcibly. When it comes to politics, protest has the advantage over art of single-point perspective: it doesn’t offer the viewer a range of potential meanings, /* xin2 */ and it often pips art to the post. The 2,500 used life jackets laid out by the International Rescue Committee in Parliament Square to coincide with the UN summit on the migrant crisis on September 19th took most of the wind out the inflatable lifeboats with which Ai Weiwei clad the facades of the Palazzo Strozzi for his retrospective opening four days later. The IRC’s installation was nameless, anonymous and free; Ai Weiwei’s was fashionably titled Reframe, stamped with

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the artist’s identity and priced accordingly.

As

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so often, google_ad_height = 90; it’s only money changing google_ad_width = 970; hands that distinguishes //--> art from reality; outside the gallery context it’s becoming impossible to
tell them apart. No sphere of life, however homely, is proof against artists who have appropriated gardening, cooking and even knitting as means of expression. Undeterred by

At this point, I have to confess to a guilty secret: I’m an avid consumer of google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; ‘Metro Bites’ when on the Tube. This silly season, almost every story had the

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makings of an artwork. In the space of
one week in July, there were items about a 96-year-old crack shot granny from Tilburg who since her first taste of a funfair shooting range aged 16 has preferred rifle shooting to

sex; a husband in Dudley who murdered his wife
for
selling his Elvis tribute concert ticket;

Carter in May: ‘The question “Is Jeremy Corbyn art?” hasn’t been asked very often. Most people are still trying to answer the deeper question: “Is Jeremy Corbyn politics?”’.

We live in an increasingly virtual world where a couple can divorce because of infidelities committed by their alter egos in Second Life and a bored schoolboy can shine a laser pen at a police helicopter when his PlayStation breaks down.

It won’t be long before we’re all as thoroughly confused as the panicked

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security man recorded during

the 9/11 attacks asking: “Is this ‘real world’ or an exercise?” No google_ad_width = 970; wonder google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; most of us are way beyond caring whether
art is imitating life or vice versa. The bored schoolboy was handed a six-month referral src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> order with obligatory attendance on a ‘thinking course’, when what he – and the rest of us – could google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; really do with is a dose of the ‘boundary training’ prescribed to Osborne’s psychiatrist brother with the wandering hands. Without it, the situation is becoming dangerous. When a woman was stabbed at last year’s Art Basel Miami, no src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> one intervened because they thought it was an

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art performance. If google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; it had been,
they would have been ejected by

is no art. In the process of being produced, art borrows

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material from life, and the traces of life still shine through the completed work of art. But at the same time, the distance from

life is the essence, the substance