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Joseph Beuys’ blackboards, thinking for expulsion.

November 25, 2010

Do they still use blackboards in schools? Possibly, they won’t be around forever.

Regardless of the ‘ground’, these temporary images are a epicentre for densely packed information and imprecise fast moving illustrations. To me they externally visualise a thinking out-loud, create multiple arrangements on the 2d surface that can be an aid spanning age gaps, knowledge gaps and many ‘communication’ gaps. For some reason, this speeded up pace of creation can pull the work out of the clichés over analysis can achieve. Especially, if you are the type to finalise an art work (in your minds-eye, for example) before the visual try outs. The vast array of imagery we have on the internet (in blogs) creates an image repetition in society which can be riddled with ideas which start to very simply assume it is an ‘artistic’ image.

As Siri Hustvedt writes in The Mysteries of the Rectangle,  the cliché: is not that its necessarily a bad idea, the cliché is a good idea poorly done..*

*This exists as a misquoted for now as the book has no index! (do I attack the publishers?), after two scans and rereads of the book, it will have to wait til post-blog publication; I know the world will hold its breath for the correction].

Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), extremely influential artist, whose artistic endeavours spanned political boundaries and worked with social idealist tendencies, a feeling for that I think remains in these blackboards. These were real teachings, of a different nature, not yet on the curriculum, though I am sure the government have plans (ignoring his teaching position dismissal for wanting to except ANY student into the arts courses). Beuys’ teachings inspired idealistic thoughts that anyone can be an artist and advocated art for all. These statements are perfectly debatable or ambiguous in their meaning: pointing out that through the idealistic statement he highlighted the actual difficulty and real rigour it takes to be called an ‘artist’.

Seems it is lovable and just to call a child an artist, but something wholly different for the adult world. Looking again at the blackboards and sketchbook images posted (and to be posted) we sense the thirst for knowledge, the need for real communication with the audience and the expulsion of human energy not yet in any precise form neatly articulated or packaged.

Now to find some chalk and blackboard spray fixative.



Short article in an Australian Arts and Entertainment site called the Blurb (’08).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2010 8:25 pm

    I love your blog post, so interesting. Have you heard of the artist John Cage, i think he might interest you too. You should take a look at my blog, I don’t seem to find all that many art blogs!

    • December 10, 2010 11:53 pm

      Yes, the Black Mountain College had my interest for a certain time for a certain idea. It is true what you say about art blogs -is it elitism keeping numbers down? Naa.

  2. December 17, 2010 9:24 pm

    great post, thanks for sharing

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