05/05/2011

Art for Art's Sake - Sade for Sade's Sake



Paul Chan, Sade for Sade's Sake, 2009.Artist, whose work has engaged a wide spectrum of ideas, including natural disasters religious fervors, and international war, sustain his activism, philosophical ideas, geo-politics views, and his vocation as an artist by producing art that is both politically minded and cognizant of the peripheries of philosophical thought. Sade for Sade’s Sake (2009), Chan’s piece for the Venice Biennale, a play on the phrase “art for art’s sake,” is a three-channel animation in which softly focused shadow imagery depicts human bodies in physical movement. These figures talk animatedly, argue, and plea with one another, walk and crawl, are beaten and whipped, and engaged in sexual activities and religious rituals. Interspersed among them are shadows of rectangles, squares, and other shapes that can be interpreted as art work hung on walls, windows in a room, or even devotional objects. The peace has an intuitive rhythmic structure; each forty-five-seconds scene relates to the next like stanzas in a poem. Chan’s visual takes the form of a ballad, and has a rhyming scheme of A-B-C-D. Sade for Sade’s Sake part of a series of works departing from the late-eighteenth-century figures writing offers Chan’s interpretation of the sentiments the Marquis de Sade attempted to evoke. Here are the experiences we have yet to fully understand through conscious thought: sex enmeshed with freedom, violence wrapped up with reason, art entangled in it all. [SN] Making Worlds, (catalogue), Veneza, 53rd International Art Exhibition, Marsilio, pp. 24-25

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