Keith Arnatt is proof that the art world doesn’t consider photography ‘real’ art
Image: INSTALLATION VIEW, ‘ABSENCE OF THE ARTIST’, SEPTEMBER 1 – SEPTEMBER 26, 2015, SPRÜTH MAGERS LONDON
The insatiably curious British photographer waged war on the art world after it rejected him. Could a fresh exhibition of his early explorations – playfully called Absence of the Artist – bring him the recognition he deserves?
Keith Arnatt liked to photograph things “everyone else thinks aren’t worth photographing”. These included discarded toys, dog poo, detritus from rubbish tips and the various notes his wife, Jo, left around the house for him.
Seven years after his death in 2008, Arnatt remains a singular – and bafflingly undervalued – presence in British art. A small but illuminating show at Sprüth Magers in London, called Absence of the Artist, provides a glimpse of Arnatt’s early use of a medium he would later embrace with the obsessive devotion of the convert. It is a survey of Keith Arnatt, the pioneering conceptual artist, before he became Keith Arnatt, the pioneering photographer….. Read the full article by Sean O’Hagan Published on Thursday 27 August 2015 16.12 BST in www.theguardian.com
There is still time to see the exhibition Absence of the Artist at
SPRÜTH MAGERS LONDON SEPTEMBER 01 – SEPTEMBER 26 2015
…The Absence of the Artist betrays the artist’s deadpan wit, wholly characteristic of Arnatt’s response to the various conflicts stimulating the art world throughout the late 1960s. The viewer is presented with a paradox: a sign, posted on a brick wall and photographed in black and white, declares the absence of the artist. Yet by denying his absence, he thrusts himself forward, seemingly emphasising the artist’s role. The Absence of the Artist highlights a fierce ambivalence about the artist’s role that was prevalent at the time. As more sceptical, pluralist ideas about art were starting to replace modernism – and its pantheon of great artists – the role of the artist was subjected to constant investigation. What divides the artist from his work or the ideas that it might produce? Do we even need the actions of an artist to declare something an artwork?…
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