Thèse; Manhattan Walk after Piet Mondrian

Rond-point au mammouth

août 2003 published in :
“Rond-point au mammouth” ed. PPT, Paris
Postulate for Rond point au mammouth
Invited to participate in an artist residence in Boulazac, a "ville nouvelle", Veit Stratmann found himself stuck between industrial parks and express ways. Rather than envisage an artistic set-up, Stratmann dared not to produce in situ, preferring to initiate a debate (and a book) along the lines of the following postulate: "taking on the role of a spectator in relation to a work of art is largely dependant on the possibility of choosing one's distance from the observed object; if this distance is imposed, he who does the observing remains in the role of a passer-by."

Bernhard Rüdiger:

To define a distance, decide upon a stopping point, is to define a work of art. It is indeed the spectator who defines this viewpoint.

Telegraphic arguments
Confronted with objects, which inhabit our existence, an individual viewpoint exists - to doubt that could be absurd. None of us could deny that our eyes are definitely in the middle of our faces and that from birth to death we can only look at the world from that perspective.

b. But what is the nature of a subjective regard when faced with an artistic object? In the specific case of artwork, the problem seems more complex, for its is not a question of mere objects. A work of art is in fact an object, which claims to show, or more precisely to reveal, other objects. That is to say, the perception of a work is offered to our gaze but rather the interpretation of that which this object allows to be seen.

c. This is how our eyes, in the middle of our faces, come into doubt, for one is confronted with an experience, which goes beyond the act of looking and recognising simple objects. A work of art asks the spectator for active participation so that he might associate himself with the view of the world, provided by the object. This particular object intervenes in the spectator's perception like a pair of glasses that bring reality into focus, obliging the person doing the looking to "objectivize" the world, to transform it into a veritable object at which to look.
d. Any spectator who has chosen his point of view stops there and begins active perception. The black space located at the end of the optic nerve begins to operate and seek out images, to rediscover feelings, to relive experiences, which are deeply imbeds in the mnemonic space, in order to enrich the observed object and weigh it against the complexity of convened reality. Looking at an object, which aspires to show the world (which aspires to objectivity), provokes a questioning of what the spectator takes for garnets and challenges the idea of reality that he has constructed.

A work of art does not require the spectator to recognise the object, rather it asks him to invest it, to charge it with meaning, to give it a direction so that it reveals the world. There are few experiences as powerful as the "objectivisation" of the world for few other objects are capable of self-activation i the presence of each singular spectator and the sensitive matter which forms the individual. The definition of a viewpoint is in fact the first act of a world view, the entire reason for a work of art.

For a Timely Art
In the current debate on art, people insist on interpreting works as objective realities, confirming thus to a widespread idea that only material objects can vehicle value. One often confuses the materiality of the artwork, the object, with is experience, that is to say, the objective connection (or the objectification), which the work makes us establish with the world.

b. Art is about giving back a more precise value to objects so as to inscribe them in a modern dynamic and become powerful machines of reality revealers. This is not a question of taking on an historic modernity, but of rekindling the functional idea, which takes us out of this deadlock. If one continues to attribute objects (whether a photo or a "ready made") with the role of an evocation - thus a religious role - or worse of an invocation (magic) of reality, one will end up reducing art to a mere cult object, thus definitively depriving it of that singular and secular strength which provokes the experience of reality in the spectator.