Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Separating Execution From Conception

To extent that there is a "deskilling" involved in outsourcing the execution stage of art objects from the artist to skilled craftspeople, it is different from deskilling that excuses absence of quality as irrelevant, or worse, elevates and enshrines feebleness because feebleness is a way to illustrate quality is illusory.

Did denigration of quality have to accompany or flow from isolating execution from conception? What knowledge is lost to the artist from making something with his/own hands does not necessarily mean the body of knowledge is lost: though knowledge may suffer in translation, it’s split between the artist as conceiver and the craftsperson as maker, unless the value of the craft is so reduced that there is no one passing on or picking up the knowledge of the craftsperson.

I think there’s a benefit to making the art objects with one’s own hand, or at least, in exercising this skill as a regular discipline. Making the objects – collaboration between the mind and the hand/body, between thought and tactile sensation - tends to slow down logical articulation and to spread out associational articulation, fostering deeper reflection. The tension and struggle in making art with one’s own hands reduces the likelihood of art that merely illustrates a concept.

On the other hand, limitations in the height of skill in particular medium should not preclude an artist from realizing work in that medium, even if this means collaborating with those who have reached the height of skill in the medium.

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