Monday, 16 July 2018

Metassemblage/ Michael Bowdidge


Michael Bowdidge

From Aesthetics to the Abstract Machine: Deleuze, Guattari and Contemporary Art Practice

Simon O’Sullivan

The author names artists like Wilke to demonstrate that there is a new movement in contemporary art. Art is presented in unfamiliar, different and surprising compositions.

I wish Simon O’Sullivan would show more examples of work or name specific art pieces that I would be able to look up online. So the reader must take the authors word for what seems to be the upcoming of a new post post-modernist movement which is different from so far known contemporary art which involves the recasting of signifying material from elsewhere.


The essay is in 3 interrelated parts that is the author’s investigation of what contemporary art is and does. Utilizing Deleuze and Guattari’s writing, he explores art’s future orientation and function. 

The D & G idea of the rhizome that is between, interbeing shows these practices to be an “immanent utopia”, inherently existing and connected to the possible present.  The virtual is art of the possible. Unfamiliar is cultivated using film and new media that actualises “different” spatiality and temporality.


The author Simon O’Sullivan mentions here particularly the manner in which contemporary art references previous art and that art is involved in multiple regimes of signs. If I was to bring my work into this context then I could name, for example, my painting


Wo Moral auftaucht, haben die Menschen die Zustaendigkeit ueber den Zusammenhang ihrer Handlungen verloren’

Tar, acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas

 8’x11.5’, 96 x 138 inches, 244 x 351 cm,




This is a quote from Marx which translates to something like ‘Wherever morality emerges as the absolute societal ideal, it means people have lost touch with their inner conscience and have abdicated or lost a sense of personal responsibility for their actions; they become vulnerable to surrendering their volition to the ideological power that presents itself as the authority and arbiter of morality.’


The cloud in my painting references the cloud in Anselm Kiefer’s painting Aschenblume




Another sign, would be for example, a piece of wood, a stick, which I am burning and painting with tar and which I will attach to my painting making reference to Wotan’s sword and to Kiefer’s painting The World-Ashfrom 1982. Black straw and ashes in Kiefer’s landscape paintings stand for the ruinous and dreary state of the German landscape after the war. Kiefer includes a burnt piece of wood, the burnt sword of Wotan from Germanic mythology, and uses it as a metaphor for the loss and the ruin. Nothing was left, but guilt, ruin and ashes. 

I refer to Kiefer in my work. He spoke openly about what he thought was essential to German healing and vital for the German nation’s psychological well-being in the process of going through its ‘Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung’, its coming to terms with, and thinking about and accepting the past, instead of rejecting or forgetting it. 

But yes, the article is about the different and not about the art which references previous art.

Artists which I have found in this different context were:


Sarah Rahbar, 

Pepo Salazar, 2015

Jumana Manna – Aftercinema , Beirut Art Center, Lebanon, 2015

Thea Djordjadze – Historical Mood, 2010

A good example might be Tatiana Trouve’s work



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