The Square. (4 Art trends) 2005
Looking back at the arts and lifestyle of the last
ten years, I can see four distinct trends:
1. “Beige” created by Olivier Zahm and Elein Fleiss,
the founders of Purple Institute in Paris.
2. “Relational Aesthetics” created by the writer and
curator Nicolas Bourriaud.
Beige starts with Araki and ends at 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,
writer J.T Leroy and his friend Asia Argento, certain
fashion icons such as Kate Moss, fashion brands such
as Comme Des Garcons, Cosmic Wonder, Bless and Undercover
as well as many young Japanese photographers and fashion
editors. Beige is about these feelings that are properly
“human,” such as love, despair and vanity. These feelings
were with us even before computers but the fact that
the computers of the 80s and 90s were mostly beige,
is significant. Beige, a color that is neither black
nor white, is about young people, their love and loneliness,
the way we crash sometimes into the wall of the everyday.
Beige, is the aesthetic of the snapshots we take while
we are crashing on that wall.
Relational Aesthetics starts with Guy Debord and
ends at Maurizio Cattelan. It’s about a type of art
that has been cultivated in Art Schools and developed-with
the assistance of the art curators- into an international
language. A “Relational Aestetist,” such as artists
Philippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, Liam Gillick or Rirkrit
Tiravanija, is usually highly professional and serious,
even when he makes jokes. “Today’s artist appears
as an operator of signs, modeling production structures
so as to provide significant doubles. An entrepreneur/politician/director”
writes Bourriaud. In the fashion world, only Martin
Margiela has the conceptual vigor of a Relational
Aestetist, just consider that in all his shows he
always has his assistants dressed in white tunics
as if they were medical workers.
Telic covers pretty much everything that has to do
with technology. You find much of it in the Wired
Magazine but it's not only about computers, Telic
The term Telic comes from the Greek world Telos (the
end) and means something with a specific destination.
Under Telic we find all kinds of cool and not so cool
design, such as the Apple Computer but also IBM and
Microsoft, fashion houses such as Prada and Calvin
Klein, designers such as Bruce Mau and of course a
lot of art made with computers. Telic is busy and
productive. Magazines are usually Telic unless they
Telic artists exhibit their works at the Ars Electonica
festival in Austria and they are often boring to watch
types, dressed unremarkable, but very genius people
once you come to know them.
Neen is something that a very few people or objects
have in common, but still it is so clear and recognizable
that even someone who had never heard this word before
can easily pin point.
Neen is a frame of mind, it talks about a new type
of feelings that we have through videogames and computers.
But even if Neen grown mostly online, is not “net
art”. In old Greek, Neen means “exactly now”: this
moment and not a second later so now Neen comes mostly
in form of peculiar websites such as fataltotheflesh.com
but tomorrow it maybe found in certain characteristics
of our genetically engineered bodies.
Neen fashion doesn’t really exist yet apart of some
clothes that Nicolas Ghesquiere designs for Balenciaga.
Now, think of most of these 4 art trends as the formation
of a square with a trend on each corner. If we exclude
the Nouveaux Pop (Jeff Koons, Young British Artists
etc), most of the Art and style that started in the
late 90's can be found in that square. Takashi Murakami
for example, is a combination of Relational Aesthetics
and OtakuNeen. The young female artists he promotes
are a new flavor of MangaBeige. Matthew Barney is
a Telic-Futurista, while his girlfriend Bjork is Beige-meet-Neen-meet-Television.
Martin Margiela is Telic but sometimes he is also
Beige-for-the Pope and Bernhard Willhelm is Neen Naive
while Alexandre Herscovitch and Gaspard Yourgevitch
have their Neen edge. Nike is Telic-goes-to-the analyst,
Adidas is classy Telic, Doug Aitken is Video Relational
and Mariko Mori is dreamy Telic. Finally, Dazed and
Confused is a Relational Pizza, Italian Vogue is a
Telic Fashion Miracle and Butt, the Gay magazine is
Gay in such a Beige way that it becomes actually Neen.
Miltos Manetas, 2005 interview at Tokion Magazine