Art on the Lagoon

06.05.13

Blind Faith in Art

The Daily Pic (Venice Biennale Edition): Artur Zmijewski presents the work of sightless painters as futile, and necessary.

A still from "Blindly", a coruscating video from the brilliant Polish artist Artur Zmijewski, in the Biennale's group show. If Zmijewski's greatest video showed deaf people learning to grunt out a Bach cantata, this more recent one shows the messes blind people make when asked to paint. In my full review of the Biennale in this week's Newsweek, I argue that Zmijewski's video represents the dilemma at the heart of all artmaking today, including in the Venice show: A sense of absolute pointlessness and powerlessness, and a determination nevertheless to go on making art. My review argues that the Biennale's group show valiantly tries, and notably fails, to return art to a time when it had a real function in life. Zmijewski's video acts as the show's own declaration of that failure, but also as an insistence that the effort of artmaking, whatever the results, counts as a success.
It so happens that there's research on blind artists that bears this out.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.