Jacob Kassey, Xanax (Diptych). 2011. Courtesy the artist, art : concept, Paris and ICA, London. Photo by Marc Bowler
M-KOS editor Oli Sorenson’s text “Flirting with Death – Dispatching along 19th to 21st Century Painting” is featured in the latest issue of esse arts + opinions themed on The Idea of Painting.
Painting has suffered at least a half dozen major existential blows since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, starting with Hippolyte Delaroche declaring “from today, painting is dead” in 1839, when he first set eyes on daguerreotypes. From this precedent, debate still abounds today as to whether photography, with its more effective means of documenting events and immortalizing faces as well as democratizing the whole imaging process – and now allowing anyone to embrace the once elitist talents of painters when a point-and-click camera – has killed off painting.
There must be more to painting than the territories claimed by photography, since it certainly hasn’t lost any of its appeal to audiences, nor has it lost any market value. On the contrary, painting seems evermore the dominant commodity for commercial galleries, art fairs and auctions. Of the ten top-selling artists at auctions worldwide, nine are painters. Each time painting is declared dead, more kudos and columns are dedicated to the deceased. If violent scenarios make for good television, perhaps the same is true in the art world. Today so many paintings adorn the walls of art institutions that one is tempted to wonder if this art form was ever under serious threat, or if all this death talk was just an elaborate marketing campaign. […]
In his article, Sorenson traces the journey of the medium of painting that repeatedly re-invents and re-identifies itself, by surviving from the cumulative threats of imaging technologies since the dawn of the photography.
esse arts + opinions is a French-English bilingual magazine established in Montreal since 1987 and is published three times a year.
For more info: esse.ca