Deconstruction revisited

Posted by jerry on March 7th, 2006 — Posted in Journal

Sharon pointed out a delightful post by The Embroideress titled “Deconstruction Run Amok“, on the work of Stephen Sollins and I would have to agree with her that there is still a dominant tendency to cast ‘high art’ as somehow ‘superior’ to craft. I also agree with her statement that:

“It would have been far more interesting to me if he [Sollins] had reversed this order and examined the issue of craft as a greater value than art.”

In some ways I think this is what Australian artist and entertainer Rolf Harris aimed at in his ‘painting by numbers’ community art project in Trafalgar Square in London last year – Rolf on Art.

Rolf on Art

In some ways, what Rolf did was a playful reworking of the traditional painter as workshop concept – in this case taking an iconic ‘fine art’ image of Holbein and rendering it as community art. This is a far reaching and more philosophically interesting version of the operation of deconstruction than that of Solens – who seeks to somehow reassert the dominant vision of high art.

Rolf’s project sets out to make high art accessible in a way that throws a spotlight on the techniques of the old masters – but less about that actual painting techniques, but rather the workshop system that made such paintings possible.


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