TALKININKAI / CONTRIBUTORS
|LUTZ BECKER AND MODERN TIMES|
|Written by CLASS|
Dear Kettles Yard and Lutz Becker,
We are gravely concerned by the content of your upcoming exhibition “Modern Times”. Judging from the promotional material that we have come across, the works selected are all “4 Dimensional” works – and as such are promoting Fascist and Nazist perspectives. Also, besides the uncritical exhibition of Fascist and Nazi material, the exhibition, in mixing 4D with revolutionary “n-dimensional” work, lumps together and thereby confuses works supporting and supported by the Fascists, Bolshevics (Futurism, Constructivism, Suprematism) as well as their contemporary counterparts such as the CIA (Abstract Expressionism) – with Revolutionary Communist work (Dada) whilst also pointedly excluding other Revolutionary Left and Anti-Bolshevik Communist work (Surrealism, Lettrism, Situationism) which would clarify political differences within Modernist Art.
The 4th Dimension – I am sure you are aware, is a theory expounded by both the fascist Boccioni – as a method to influence both artists and audiences with political memes – as well as the Nazi Heidegger who saw the 4th dimension as one of time – along with many others at the start of the 20th century. The theories were taken up in different ways by the different modernist art movements - Futurists, Supremacists, Constructivists, Dadaists (indeed these groups can be defined by their different approaches to the question of Euclidean space) - and while revolutionaries moved forward into n-dimensional theory (Duchamp, Jorn) which broke with Euclidean space, reactionaries remained trapped in the 4th dimension and trapped the viewer in it too. Of particular note in this situation is the tactic of the proto-fascists of Vorticism to compress many dimensions worth of information into the one extra (4th) conceptual dimension. In this way they could make statements at a sub-conscious or subliminal level without having to engage in defending their political positions. However the 4th dimensional viewpoint/ forcefield, whether as an 'intuitive' dimension or as a spatialised dimension of time (intellect), only served to shut down consciousness, precisely at the point when Capitalism itself was under threat during the First World War. The intellect was dismissed as bourgeois - rooted in the mechanical universe so beautiful elucidated by Baron Kelvin. Intuition then became fetishised as a mystical device which rapidly turns in on itself, becoming an essential aid to remote control manipulation through codes and symbols, reaching its apogee as a sequence of 0's and 1's.
It is Duchamp, whose Large Glass made the most public break with the Euclidean 4th dimensional space to theorise an n-dimensional space. Asger Jorn with Situgraphics continued in this trajectory out of the Euclidean 4th dimension. This struggle of course continued and continues into new mediums. In film it was the Lettrists whose Hypergraphics overcoming abstraction and introducing new dimensions of meaning into the 2D surface, was continued into their critique of cinema, using dimensions of sight, sound, thought, touch and taste which caused the creation of the Prix d’Avant Garde at the Cannes film festival in 1951. By lumping together 4th dimensionalists and n+1 dimensionalists, this exhibition serves to trap us in the 4th dimension. Similarly, films such as Swastika and Vita Futurista only serve to glorify Fascism and National Socialism. They simply present the propaganda of these movements without adding any new dimensions to our understanding and perspective. We are surprised that you exclude from this exhibition filmic works such as those of Lettrist Discrepant cinema whose radical critique of cinema would reveal this. We are also very surprised that there is no consideration of the politics behind these artists which would further reveal this.
for the Cambridge Lettrist And Situationist Society
More on the official version of the show: