IF YOU’VE GOT NOTHING TO SAY, DON’T SAY IT HERE
Someone once came to a club I was on the door of in the eighties – he said – I’ve come all the way from Madagascar – I’d heard about you and was desperate to get here. Then a couple of months ago someone came in to studio1.1, the gallery I’m part of and said – I’m from Madagascar – I didn’t know you existed –
I was just passing.
I leave that without comment.
Now we take things as they come and nowhere is out of reach. So where is in reach? Art that was our Mont Ste-Victoire, our Medici patron, comes these days out of a globalised awareness (Oh we’re oh so thoroughly Altermodern Millie, a feeling of been-there-seen- it even when we haven’t, and that wasn’t us, it was Attenborough or Bono on our behalf. He’s the one that got the t-shirt, remember? We think we know everything and everywhere. We’re fools.)
There are seemingly more isolated places than Madagascar that are more often visited, their strangeness/difficulty of access becoming a draw, a selling point. If we’re an artist, even more so. The world is mad for Access Art, – wow, Gagosian has paid for his trip to the moon, here are the Giclees to prove it. She pulverised some toenails from a goatherd in Outer Mongolia (funny, looked just like the Moon) and took them to sprinkle on her larks’ egg and lambs’ cheese pizza at the Cipriani. (Funny. Tasted like parmesan. Then they threw her out. But the joke’s on them because that’s what she wanted. Made a great spread in Frieze week’s ‘Hello’.)
Maybe it’s just that ‘strangeness/difficulty of access’ belongs in those inverted commas – we could go but can’t go to places unless we’re directed there. There is nowhere off the (google)map – unless we count ourselves. We have erased ‘humanity’ – our sort – from googleearth leaving just a few neo-street-people – nobodies who can’t sue.
Antananarivo with its jacarandas is in full bloom (an unearthly methylated spirit against the rusted roofs and abrupt hills de-treed but jungled with houses and a last fringe of green above). And a backpacker with dyed scarlet hair asks directions from a local far above the city. (081027 Tananarivo Mada 001.) We have 360 vision but we have lost the real us somewhere in the photos of the ‘Spiny jungle’, ‘Las Ramblas’ or the Shanghai Bund.
Where are we? And how did we get there? This looks nothing like it.
And how do we get back?
When’s the next bus for Madagascar?
What’s my timetable? I’m looking for the new Timbuctu.
AYA FUKAMI | BORIS KAJMAK | BRIAN CHALKLEY | BRUCE McLEAN | CEDRIC CHRISTIE | DANIEL DEVLIN | DAVID BROCK | YEN SIK KIM
GRANT McLEAN | HEDLEY ROBERTS | HERZOG DELLAFIORE | JANKO MATIC | KERAN JAMES | KATARINA DRAGOSLAVIC | WILLIAM MACKRELL
LUCIA STUART | LUDMILLA ANDREWS | MARCUS COPE | FRYNI MOUZAKITOU | MARK WOODS | PERRY ROBERTS | RAY OKUNUBI
REBECCA SCOTT | RODRIGO OLIVEIRA | ROMINA DUSIC | SIAN-KATE MOONEY | STEPHANIE MORAN | TOMMY SEAWARD