Yesterday at the Venice Biennale, I happened upon an exhibition by The Propeller Group. Two artists from Vietnam [the group is based in Ho Chi Min City] spoke about their project called
AK-47 vs. M-16.
They were inspired by a story of two bullets which had collided when fired by the opposing sides on a battlefield of the American Civil War.
They wondered what this story, myth or poetics of the clashing bullets might mean in the context of another time and place—namely the Cold War where the AK-47 and the M-16 were used. Unfortunately when I hear of the AK-47, I immediately envision some individual, aiming at mass murder in a shopping mall
But…as an aside, I can think of no more appropriate place to think about myth and poetics than my beloved Venice.
In any event, they took these two weapons from the cold war era, the AK-47 and the M-16 and fired them so that the bullets collided. The result, which you can see in the video below, is astoundingly beautiful. What a contrast! On the surface, those bullets strike fear in our hearts but just watch their collision on the video for a completely different picture–lyrical shapes and lines in a slow, pulsating rhythm. The resulting explosion of energy is truly beautiful. Science and art! The artists speak of using past poetics and myths [events which have happened] and projecting them into the future for further interpretation and speculation. Watch this video and let me know what you think.
For me, a landscape painter, it’s a challenge to comprehend some of these newer forms of art. However, I’m fascinated that these artists are inspired by a whole range of influences found in television, film, video and the internet–anywhere around us–real or imagined.
It gives me a new found sense of the exciting possibilities presented by combining or playing with a whole array of media. After all, why should any artist be restricted to one form of expression? Why not add, subtract, divide and multiply all the beauty and splendor, banality and ugliness of this world? If anything, I’d think creativity would be stimulated by this process and the clash of a myriad of things.
When I get back to London, I’ll be sure to look up Rinaldo, the conceptual artist with whom I have argued about art and life in The Trilogy of Remembrance. I confess, I’ve never really appreciated his work but now, I think I can look at it with new eyes.
I’ve always thought that, with conceptual art, the work must be a clearly stated concept which is new and challenging. But am I right? Am I being too rigid? Perhaps if we say that the art is found in the free exploration of whatever things and ideas and emotions which exist in this world, then perhaps that is the standard to judge the art. What do you think?
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Presently, The Drawing Lesson is a Wattpad Featured novel which you can read in it’s entirety right here Wattpad.com