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more-ness and less-ness

December 30, 2009


[e-flux] Art is made of things: paints, paper, video projectors, steel, and so on. The things used in making art ground it in a material reality, without which art would simply be an unrealized wish. Even works that claim to be dematerialized need material support to realize themselves. Performance, for instance, may not see itself as composed of things. But the focus of the work needs a material frame to condense all the elements into an event. The space, the performers, and the props (if any) all work to make performance appear as experience. Art uses things to make its presence felt. But art is not itself a thing.

If art is, in truth, art, it feels as if it is too concrete to be mere appearance, but not concrete enough to exist as mere reality. In other words, art is more and less than a thing. And it is this simultaneous expression of more-ness and less-ness that makes what is made art. (read)

Paul Chan

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