Ingrid Sischy

  • A Light Opportunity

    TO TELL THE TRUTH, THIS ISSUE BEGAN with editorial discussions about the failure of the recent spate of big international shows to intelligently meet the development of contemporary art, and about their tendency instead to carelessly throw all “the names” together in an expensive but cheap hanging spectacle of so-called international pluralism, willy nilly, irrespective of individual concerns, differences, and achievements. The American shows have failed because of naiveté, superficiality, and too passive a relation to the hypes of the mass media, while the European exhibitions, almost exclusively

  • Editorial

    THE UNIDENTIFIED PHANTASM FLOATING in the orbit of this issue is the future. That’s all the future is anyway—a phantasm. However, the way we project our anticipation of it suggests the boundaries of imagination, and these limits in turn describe the framework of history. An example: mythology views light as power; empirical practice discovers the laser; fictional practice puts it in star wars; then politicians propose to “turn the balance of terror on its head” by means of concentrated light and giant mirrors in the sky, thus fully reifying myth.

    The future phantasm remains the principal catalyst

  • WILLIAM EGGLESTON’S COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS: MATTERS OF RECORD

    THE BLATANTLY MECHANISTIC CONDITION bound to photographic seeing has confounded photographic discourse. One-way thinking has stratified this moonlighting medium ever since its invention, zoning it into polemic ghettos walled off by hegemonies and hierarchies. The conceptual astigmatisms have only been aggravated since the further challenge, the tease of color, was introduced, offering still pictures a transition as momentous as sound did moving ones.

    William Eggleston’s pictorial vocabulary—edited bits from his local world—has been described as commonplace. Some have taken this to mean pictures

  • DOCUMENTA 7

    THE ADJECTIVE “MODERN” AS it has been applied within culture over the last 100 years has always indicated a break from history rather than a continuation of it. But a pattern of breaks, when long enough sustained, itself becomes a “tradition.” As we begin the end of this century—the next fin de siècle—we are confronted with a situation so complex as to include not only artists whose work continues to invigorate this credo of invention but also Modern artists whose “break” or perhaps “invention” has to do with a disruption of what has become this tradition of invention in Modernism: they aggressively

  • A Note on Anselm Kiefer

    A PROJECT BY ANSELM KIEFER follows on the next six pages. Although Kiefer’s picture constructions are not illustrations of history, it is useful (but only that) to know that this particular work takes the epic of Gilgamesh as its dramatic mise-en-scène. Kiefer’s surface reference here is a point along the journey of Gilgamesh and his servant companion Enkidu that took them into a forest with a mountain that was green from cedar trees. One motive that prompted this expedition was the need for timber, with which Gilgamesh could display his power by building great walls and temples. The monumental

  • Editorial

    THE ABSENCE OR PRESENCE OF of the human figure in art has never been a question of happenstance. Abstraction was, and is, a matter of modernist plastic and intellectual principles. At crucial moments in this century the glorification of the human figure, a figure whose historic reality lacked nobility, purity and promise, seemed an act of naiveté; and abstraction was delivered to the 20th-century consciousness as the only possible chance for art to fulfill its most idealistic imperative—to offer universal vision. Still, whether the figure has been there or not it has always held a relative