Dear Sandra and Painting,
I believe your request for therapy is the first step to acceptance and healing. It seems clear that Sandra, you have an issue with Painting being so materialistic and ambitious; he wants to make money, doesn’t he? Although of course he’d no doubt deny it…I had de Kooning here last week and he was all like, ‘I don’t paint to live, I live to paint.’ A hopeless romantic and so removed from reality! I mean its all a socio-economic construct wouldn’t you say?
I think that part of your desire to explore your intertextuality Sandra, comes from a lot of influences that you maybe haven’t fully acknowledged. I mean a lot of Painting’s most vocal critics in the old avant guard, they never liked him because he was friends with so many aristocrats and with Captialism, they couldn’t stomach the way he seemed to sell himself to the highest bidder. I don’t know if it was ever about aesthetics, it was always political in a sense.
And Painting, he tried to change, he tried on so many different identities, dressed in so many different colours, there was even that time he tried on that all black, square number…or the times he threw his outfit together at random, but where could he go from there? I think that maybe he learned to live with himself, accept his limitations and moved on. Perhaps you need to do that too?
My friend Bourriaud was saying the other day that ‘art offers an immediate “right of asylum” to deviant practices which can not find their natural bed, so many forceful works … only arrived in the realm of art for the simple reason that they had reached a limit of other realms’. Sandra, it seems to me that you were searching for just such a natural bed and in the process ended up sleeping around! But that’s just it, it’s always a process with these things. So I guess what the pair of you need might be some Relational counseling?
I suppose the problem comes in that Painting can be a demanding partner, he insists on skill, practice, training…you have to give him the time that he needs to develop your relationship fully, but you needed to be free, transversal, he was always going to be too unitary, too formal for your tastes. I think that the likes of Installation gave you a way to live your life, they didn’t insist on that specialised level of commitment, they were all about life after all, they made time for you rather than the other way around. And so, with the introduction of time, art entered the realm of everyday life, its could take you anywhere, you didn’t need to get dressed up and visit his parents at the Gallery on a Sunday afternoon anymore, you could hang out at warehouse parties and on the streets, anywhere you liked and with whoever you liked, you could really engage with other people, enjoy a social life, maybe even a socially engaged life. Perhaps he just wasn’t the medium for you.
Marx might have thought ‘the subordination of the artist to some definite art’ is a consequence of the division of labour. He claimed that ‘in a communist society there are no painters but at most people who engage in painting among other activities’ but as we have seen Sandra, unless you are willing to put in a certain level of commitment to your relationship with Painting, the moral standards of this society, in which we live, rightly or wrongly, are never going to judge you favourably. Instead perhaps we could learn to live and let live, there need not be only painters, and we need not abolish Painting, this town is big enough for the two of you, so let’s lose the antagonism and if you bump into each other sometime at an exhibition opening, at least try to engage in a bit of grown up conversation.
Dr. Terry Finger