Interview by Daisuke
Nishimura for TOKION magazine, 2005
Q. What do you see as being important contemporary trends in art?
There are 4 major trends:
a. "Beige", a theory created by Olivier Zahm and Elein Fleiss who are the
founders of the magazine Purple
b. "Relational Aesthetics" created by Nicolas Bourriaud who directs the
Palais de Tokyo in
c. "Telic," a trend that covers pretty much everything that deals with
technology, Internet etc.
d. "Neen", a name coined by the Branding Company "Lexicon" - the same people
who made the name Powerbook and Pentium- and which represents a new art
movement, the first of this century.
Here are some samples from each of these trends:
-BEIGE starts from Araki and ends to Vanessa Beecroft. It includes people
such as the photographers Terry Richardson and Wolfgang Tillmans, the
directors Sophia Coppola and Guys Van Saint, the rock group Sonic Youth, the
writer J.T Leroy, some fashion icons and creators such as Kate Moss and
Comme Des Garcons and many young Japanese photographers and fashion
editors. Beige is about these feelings that are properly "human": they were
with us before computers arrived. Its also about young people, their love
and loneliness, the way they crash sometimes on the wall of the everyday
reality. BEIGE is the aesthetic of the snapshots we take while we are
crashing on that wall.
-Relational Aesthetics starts from Guy Debord and ends to Maurizio Catellan.
It's about a type of art that has been cultivated in
developed-with the assistant of the art curators into an international
language. A Relational Aestetist such as Philippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe,
Dominique Gonzalez_Foerster, Liam Gillick, Rirkrit Tiravanija is usually
highly professional and serious even when he makes jokes. "Today's artist
appears as an operator of signs, modelling production structures so as to
provide significant doubles. An entrepeneur/politician/director" writes
Bourriaud. Relational Aesthetics can also be found in design such as in the
work of the Experimental Jetset and is some "academic" fashion such as
-Telic comes from the Greek world Telos and means something with a specific
destination. Under Telic we find all kinds of Design such as the Apple
Computes, Fashion trends such as Prada but also most of Net Art and art
that is made with computers and software. Telic is busy and productive.
Magazines are Telic unless they become the manifestos of a new situation.
Telic artists exhibit their works at Ars Electonica in
often boring to watch types, dressed unremarkably, but very genius people
once you come to know them.
-Neen is a term made by a computer program ( after it "run different
combinations from the letters of the word "screen"). It also happens to
mean "exactly now" in old Greek: this moment and not a second later. Neen
is about a new type of feelings: the ones that we have through videogames
and computers. But its not "computer art", Neen is mostly strange visual ,
sound and motion stuff that doesn't look "art" yet but they are so fresh
and deep that you can't forget them. Artists such as Rafael Rozendaal and
Angelo Plessas, Idoru personalities such as Mai Ueda, visionary architects
such as Andreas Angelidakis, composers such as GNAC, Nobukazu Takemura and
Aki Tsuyuko and film makers such as Michel Gondry are definitely Neen. Some
of the clothes that Nicolas Ghesquiere design for Balenciaga, the t-shirts
of Alexandre Herchcovitch, some of the most hi teck pieces of Alexander Mc
Queen and much of what Gaspar Yourkevitch is doing have a lot of Neen
elements but unfortunatelly Neen Fashion doesn't really exist yet.
Now, think of most of these 4 art trends as the formation of a square with
each trend on each corner..
Inside you can find all Art that started after the 80's.
Takashi Murakami for example is a combination of Relational Aestetics and
OtakuNeen. Some of the young female artists he promotes though are a new
flavor of Beige reinforced with Manga immagery. Matthew Barney is a
Telic-Futurista, his girlfiend Bjork instead is Beige-
meets-Neen-meets-Television. Martin Margiela is Beige-for-the Pope and
Bernhard Willhelm is Neen Naive. Nicolas Ghesquiere is Neen that more than
ofthen degeneretes to Beige and Marico Mori is dreamy Telic.
Q. What current artists do you think will be remembered in 100 years and
Most of my friends will be remembered I think because they all do great
inovative works. Their names are at my book " A self-portrait in Googlism".
But also some of the people who we don't consider "artists" today, will be
remembered as major ones. Some of the videogame creators such as Mr. Shigeru
Miyamoto and also some people who make special effects for movies. We don't
really see the work of these people, usually its hidden under the banality
of a Superman movie or a Grand Theft Auto game but I believe that it will
come a moment that the diamonds will surface and our Museums will have to
re-order their rooms and labels.
Q. Who do you think defines what is good art - other artists, collectors,
gallerists, viewers or 'the street'? How has this changed and how has
this changed art?
Good art is always defined by the same factor: "Good" are the art works-
paintings, photos, movies, design and fashion- that stuck with us. Pieces we
remember for some specific reason but also for no reason at all! Nobody
controlled that factor in the past or does so today because it belongs to a
very deep layer of the karma of Western Civilization: the layer of reality
that is not "realized" yet. The World that still has to come. Media,
education and Museum Culture are powerless in comparison with this
"collective memory" factor. Their influence is like water that tries to
hide the taste of Whiskey.
Q. Some people have said that art is dead. If so, what comes after art?
Nothing comes after Art because Art doesn't die, it just changes tables as
if she was a bikini girl in a dancing club. Art moves from one society
formation to another. Yesterday and still largely today, sits with the
Academics. Tomorrow will be dancing with artificial web entities and kids
who draw flash animations.
Q. Are you hopeful or pessimistic about current developments in art?
What a question! It's as if you are asking me how do I feel about the
weather! Sometimes it's cold and other times warm but it's always ok, there
is nothing to complain. When is warm you go for a drive when its cold you
stay home and read a book. But if by saying "current developments"you mean
what the official taste of the Empire likes or dislikes, what we see in the
pages of Art Forum, Frieze and Italian Vogue or which movie gets the Oscar
awards and who is at the Venice Biennial this year, then I would answer you
that I don't see that as a development. That's just the colors of our Global
Village Flag. A stupid rainbow.
Q. Is it possible that "100% pure" art form exist? If possible, what kind
100% pure like a Lacoste shirt made by 100% pure cotton? No.. Artworks are
dirty jobs made by artists, assistants, dealers and curators all together.
Q. What makes you happy to continue working in art?
What my friends are doing, makes me happy. I often go to their webpages and
see their latest animation and I renew myself, I become again 10 years old.
Art is a way to escape the two nightmares that torture humanity since the
beginning: Age and Job. I don't want to become old and I don't want to have
a job, that's why I am busy with Art.
Q. Art can save the world?
No. Nothing can save the World. The World is fucked and that's OK with me...