Fictions of Fracture

31/12/2003


The technical arrogance of airplanes or ships becomes a titanic spectacle when they suffer catastrophes, and if the airplane vanishes in a sudden ball of fire, the gradual sinking of the ship in a whirlpool of bottomless sea turns the shipwreck into a Wagnerian drama, as shown by the images of the tankers Erika and Prestige. That slow motion camera freezes in the accidents on land, and the wagons piled up by the train collision or the vehicles dragged by water express the violence of the event with their confusion, in the same way that tilting buildings show with their leaning geometry the impact of the tornado or the earthquake. The dark beauty of catastrophe equally fascinates the artist and the child, and the unstable forms of accidents colonize with similar profusion exhibition halls and amusement parks, from the shows of the Kassel Documenta or the Venice Biennial to the Wonderworks of Orlando. Perhaps these fictions of fracture do not really praise destruction, but the political and social devastation of our time is summed up well in the interior derailments and immobile ruins of contemporary art. In the tangled train cars of Juan Muñoz – as the Madrid demonstratrors said about the 11 March trains – we all travelled...[+]


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