Renzo Martens, Enjoy Poverty.
This post follows a previous one where I struggled with the idea of using certain locations as subject matter in my work.
As part of the seminars I had to interview a person pretending to be Renzo Martens. A fun exercise which lead me to some realizations. Firstly it isn’t possible to just explain away your work as just being art, its becoming more and more apparent that art has to be more conscious in what it does and you do have to explain your work in other contexts and fields such as sociology. Also who has the right to make work about certain subjects. I’ve been producing beds, model beds. These are only around 24cm at there longest edge, small objects but they do carry a lot of weight. They are replicas of beds used to torture prisoners in the era of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. I have been trying to combine them with another structure I found in Leith which I have been finding difficult to do. They are strong objects in there own right and I feel it degrades them to place them in this other structure especially after this task with Renzo Martens. Who has the right to use, not another countries, but another peoples history. I’ve been told of outrage in Ireland relating to a similar situation. the Art was made about a very personal history by an outsider, is it morally right to do this or is it not his place. In that particular case I was informed the show was indeed powerful and extremely impressive. I feel to work with this subject matter I can’t just throw these two places together without just cause, or at least more consideration. Perhaps next semester I will have a better understanding of where to take this project.