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Budomenta 13 Logo Budomenta 13 Budomenta 13 Logo 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Budomenta 13, an art exhibition often confused with her little sister "documenta". This year's central theme is the extended martial art term.

 

Let me introduce our expert panel, the head of the art department of the Charlassecure insurance company, the curator of the Ostrogothic Watercolour Collection, the editor of the Cooking Like Picasso magazine, the chairman of the Paleolithic Serigraph Society, and the president of the Industrial Association of Dumper Truck Manufacturers.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, graduated fitted kitchens, incorrectly tied belts made of cast-iron, and jellied sandbag mobiles. How do you explain this to outsiders ?

 

In a pragmatic and citizen-oriented way. Such events are more and more politicised. Ahead of the show there was a demonstration under the slogan "Occupy Augean Sty". Instead of having the protesters arrested, they were fenced in and added to the exhibition catalogue as a piece of performance art.

 

We start our tour with the battle cry installation C4. It wraps us in a potpourri of animal sounds, squeaking tyres, barkers, political debates, and other din. Colored fabric panels are suspended from the ceiling, almost touching the floor. The visitors are encouraged to tear off parts and put them into their ears, tie them around their waists, or eat them. At the same time, martial artists dressed as hares are scampering inside a cage assembled from picture frames.

 

What is the meaning of the work ?

 

This is a multilayered staging. On the surface, there is the obvious critique of late Renaissance capitalism. On a deeper level, the artist is debunking popular myths about public transport.

 

In the next room an oasis of calm is waiting. It only hosts two objects, courageously compiled by the organizer. The first one is a showcase filled with fibreglass periodically suffused with differently colored light. A symbol for the arbitrariness of today's graduations.

Just a few steps away is the second installation. It features a pig in a Karate-Doctor  T-shirt that is shooting with a machine gun at extraterrestrials wearing holographic sashes.

Here, epic stories are being told, projections of trueness and propaganda which create a polarising vacuum between themselves.

 

Such a balancing act is nothing new. Let's revisit some exhibits from the past. In the garden, one discovers the long-term installation "Still Life X" consisting of plastic mockups of examination rules and people in training uniforms. The scene is reigned by an electronic display of current examination fees. This is the dynamic part of the configuration as the figures stay put, literally waiting for their belts getting darker and darker over time. Eventually, they do turn black because of environmental pollution.

Within sight are several plaster busts, representing enemies of anti-associations. They are placed in a pigeon loft and over the years got covered with bird shit. The artist reads his work as nature's critical reflection about the arrogance of whistle-blowers. This exhibit won the challenge cup of the royal academy for swarm stupidity.

 

Back in the present, we discover a real crowd-pleaser, a device producing different sized soap bubbles. It's quite a sensation because by means of secret additives completely black bubbles can be fabricated. However, just like their colorful counterparts, they will burst when getting in touch with the environment.

 

Despite of all planning and supervision there are still occasional surprises. Overnight, unknown persons have set up a new installation in the park. It is a maze made of razor wire. Having found a way through the labyrinth, one is rewarded with videos showing exemplarily executed techniques.

 

The audience loves this work. What do the experts think ?

 

Basically, the object is incomprehensible, no interpretation is provided. It has most likely not been properly intellectualised. Thus, it can at best be classified as a decoration item.

 

In the main building, an array of cement blocks attracts attention. From a distance they look like giant cigarette packs. Getting closer, one can see that they have been engraved with names of clubs and individual persons. Similar to tobacco, there are hazard warnings, such as "Anti-dojos poison your future", "Doing antisenseis favours damages your reputation", "Anti associations induce chronical charlatanry", "Wishy-washy training causes loss of reality", and "Overgraduation leads to megalomania".

 

Because of its easy comprehensibility, some critics dismiss this ensemble as blatantly trivial activism devoid of concrete solutions. Others praise it as a paragon of naive sculpting in the best cubistic tradition.

 

Let's now address the incredible development which triggered a controversial debate and, as some say, one of the biggest scandals in the history of art. We are of course referring to the so called "Enhancement Aesthetics", a concept where famous works of great masters are being modified. Yes, you've heard right, originals are altered. Who buys it, owns it and can do whatever he wants to do. Or does he ?
      

Well, a fierce quarrel flared up, with no end in sight. Although the method is not new, it is unfamiliar to the general public because up to now mostly unknown artefacts have been reworked. Art lives, art is subject to change, and this art form transfers the works into a new paradigm in which art is defined and realised as a universal language of vicissitude. A wonderful modern approach, so to say a globalisation of creativity over space and time.

 

Have a look at some examples. The Mona Lisa is wearing a black belt, the Man with the Golden Helmet is dressed in samurai armour, tic-tac-toe symbols are drawn into Piet Mondrian compositions, Munch's The Scream shows a person after a failed brick breaking test, and on Hokusai's Wave surfers are fighting each other with nunchakus. Experts are still arguing about whether certain Jackson Pollock paintings were modified at all.

 

One might or might not deplore that. It's a fait accompli, so let the market decide.

 

The next work can only be viewed through a semi-transparent mirror. It is a henhouse with free-ranging chickens. On the ground, numerous monitors are installed showing clips from tournaments and training in contemporary clubs. Every ten minutes the room is dimmed, and the twilight fuses all elements into one of the most haunting mataphors of the Budomenta 13.

 

Primarily suited for sporty persons is a walk-in wood construction, which can be entered through a narrow hatch. Its interior features a gallery with huge eye replicas on which running windshield wipers are mounted. Not until exiting the object do we realize that it is a colossal gluteal model, and disturbing analogies surface.

 

In a heavily guarded room, we find the best protected piece of this exhibition. Behind bulletproof glass is a DVD player, isolated from any output device. A disc playing in an infinite loop contains secret recordings about the creation of commercial illusory worlds, the so called anti-budoing.

 

The facts are there, directly in front of us, all the things we always knew but could not prove, so close but unreachable, a monument of alienation.

 

This is mesmerizing visual poetry. It galvanizes the audience into thought, maybe into action, even overreaction, or loss of self-control. A compulsive urge is cropping up to lunge at the player and connect a monitor and speakers. The work evokes strong emotional responses. This is really great art.

 

Speaking of money, what is it worth ?

 

Auctioneers set the initial bet to one million dollars. Ultimately it should earn considerably more. There are many potential customers since budo associations and individuals alike have a keen interest to include the work into their private collections.

 

And that's the end of our programme. One little anecdote remains to be told. Based on experiences with previous art shows, the toilets have not been cleaned for several days because it was unclear whether they might be exhibits. Well, it seems that not everyone is an art expert. Until next time.

 

 2012  DEA + GNM + HAW + TDI + UNE

 

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