Soft Cover, German, Glue Binding, 242 Pages, 1994
Parkett No. 42 / 1994
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This issue of PARKETT evokes the merger of art and life, not as it was propagated in the late sixties, but as an entity freed from the conspicuous involvement of the artist’s person. Nor is the artist free as a bird, à la Yves Klein’s leap into the void.
In the work of Weiner and Whiteread, “art and life” appear as an objective, tangible fusion, melted into a single body. Both artists have worked in public spaces, and faced the friction of public exposure. “I’ll be a tattoo on Rachel Whiteread’s structures,” Lawrence Weiner said when we suggested juxtaposing the two of them. Public opinion has been given a voice in this issue. An anti-aircraft tower from World War II that stands in the midst of Vienna bears an inscription by Weiner that is visible from afar: SMASHED TO PIECES (IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT). The personal responses of individuals to Weiner’s piece reveal an emotional spectrum that does not exclude indifference, while the intense reactions to Rachel Whiteread’s spectacular sculpture HOUSE demonstrate its powerful impact on the community.
By contrast, writer Vince Leo traces the shift of Robert Frank’s photographic oeuvre from public to private sphere: “In 1959 it must have looked as if the whole country was in the process of abandoning public space.” He goes on to observe that “privacy and image control, once the privilege of the rich, became a guiding force in all visual relations.”
Nan Goldin’s ardent, vital images of human vulnerability in the Insert cross those unwrit¬ten boundaries that have become the subject of the present issue of PARKETT.