Museum Exhibition
Fred Tomaselli at the 17th Biennale of Sydney
Biennial Exhibition
May 12 - Aug 1, 2010
image

Fred Tomaselli, Big Eye, 2009

Distance allows us to be ourselves despite the many capacities we share. We are all the same, yet different and it is our differences that make us – according to the circumstances – beautiful, terrifying, attractive, boring, sexy, unsettling, fascinating, challenging, funny, stimulating, horrific or even many of these at once.

More importantly, the idea of distance expresses the condition of art itself. Art is of life, runs parallel to life and is sometimes about life. But, for art to be art (a medium of numinous, sometimes symbolic power), it must maintain a distance from life. Without distance, art has no authority and is no longer special. As art depends on the beauty of distance, beauty in art – a resolution of energy, thought and feeling in aesthetic form – depends on distance as well. Beauty itself can, at times, be terrible as well as alluring. Art can reflect the sweetest or strongest of emotions, it can also express the most traumatic events but, unlike life, nobody gets hurt.

Contemporary art is one of the most important activities in which we can be engaged. If it is any good, it balances enjoyment with wisdom by offering creative, free and open perspectives that are desperately needed in complicated and dangerous times.

The subtitle of the 17th Biennale of Sydney – ‘Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age’ – explores the affirmative power of art in the face of unprecedented threats: conflict, famine, inequity, environmental despoliation and global warming. This subtitle is inspired by experimental film maker, anthropologist and musicologist Harry Everett Smith (1923–91), whose compilation of historic recordings, the Anthology of American Folk Music, appeared in 1952 at the height of the Korean War and Senator McCarthy’s political witch hunts in the USA. Drawing on blues, jazz, gospel, Cajun and other forms of folk music from people of many origins living across the USA, Smith mapped a modern world that had radically different values to the rapidly proliferating mass consumer culture around him. By doing this, he provided guidance and inspiration for generations of future musicians and listeners.

- See more at: http://www.biennaleofsydney.com.au/about-us/history/2010-2/#sthash.mDHaYRoc.dpuf

James Cohan Gallery is pleased to announce Fred Tomaselli's participation in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, The Beauty of Distance - Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, curated by David Elliott.

 

"Distance allows us to be ourselves despite the many capacities we share. We are all the same, yet different and it is our differences that make us – according to the circumstances – beautiful, terrifying, attractive, boring, sexy, unsettling, fascinating, challenging, funny, stimulating, horrific or even many of these at once.

 

More importantly, the idea of distance expresses the condition of art itself. Art is of life, runs parallel to life and is sometimes about life. But, for art to be art (a medium of numinous, sometimes symbolic power), it must maintain a distance from life. Without distance, art has no authority and is no longer special. As art depends on the beauty of distance, beauty in art – a resolution of energy, thought and feeling in aesthetic form – depends on distance as well. Beauty itself can, at times, be terrible as well as alluring. Art can reflect the sweetest or strongest of emotions, it can also express the most traumatic events but, unlike life, nobody gets hurt.

 

Contemporary art is one of the most important activities in which we can be engaged. If it is any good, it balances enjoyment with wisdom by offering creative, free and open perspectives that are desperately needed in complicated and dangerous times.

 

The subtitle of the 17th Biennale of Sydney – ‘Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age’ – explores the affirmative power of art in the face of unprecedented threats: conflict, famine, inequity, environmental despoliation and global warming. This subtitle is inspired by experimental film maker, anthropologist and musicologist Harry Everett Smith (1923–91), whose compilation of historic recordings, the Anthology of American Folk Music, appeared in 1952 at the height of the Korean War and Senator McCarthy’s political witch hunts in the USA. Drawing on blues, jazz, gospel, Cajun and other forms of folk music from people of many origins living across the USA, Smith mapped a modern world that had radically different values to the rapidly proliferating mass consumer culture around him. By doing this, he provided guidance and inspiration for generations of future musicians and listeners."