Friday, 23 March 2018

The Rules of the Engagement

Naked woman and sofa, 2018 © Richard Ansett 2018
I am again focused on mortal detail working with my muse Ms Beryl Nesbitt very much in line with my image of another great muse and model Geoff transforming from Tina. There is nothing Beryl can do that does not fascinate me, she is my mother alive and dead and her memory of her mother was that she was a bitch. I am continuing a tradition of 'the artist's nude reclining' but photography must be more than pastiche in its insecure demands for recognition and I refuse to present work that purports to be art through mimicry alone. So this is a moment in time either side of the tradition and beyond the frame.

I was concerned that Beryl might die before I could explore her mortal body and capture her extraordinary nature in aspic. I did not want to miss another opportunity to engage with my mother on my terms and Beryl is happy to participate in any role play that in some way satisfies her own needs.

Neue Sachlichkeit is an attempt at an unadulterated response, the world stripped bare of sentimental nostalgia and conventional beauty. Only in recognising the impossibility of the task can we come close to achieving our goal.  A practice still useful now in exposing the contemporary blocks to any successful engagement with the present.

Some rules of Neue Sachlichkeit practice:

1) an image cannot be (or even feel) adulterated. The image and meaning of a subject can only be influenced ‘in camera’ through the manipulation of the world in front of the lens. Authenticity demands a palpable genuineness regardless of and challenging the established rules of aesthetics.

2) The image must be stripped of personal or sympathetic notions both in content and information. #Empathy and #sympathy if any must be left to the observer and the subject #humanity should be exposed at odds to the practice and accentuated through exposure to it. 

3) Presence of the artist as deliberate or accidental protagonist must be declared. No image should imply truthful representation. 

4) Images must be existentially representative of the era in which they are formed, archaic aesthetic notions of nostalgia and beauty must be recognised as crutches for short term gratification distracting from a more honest engagement with the present. Archaic rules seen as established and natural must be challenged and subjugated for a new understanding and a new relationship to the present seen as beautiful. See article for Hunger magazine Film Is Dead.

5) An arbiter of success of any image in the artist's mind is in its legacy and value to an imagined future audience 

6) Any experiment with objectivism must acknowledge the impossibility of objectivism.