A Student’s Response to Jasmina Cibic: Movements

Date and time
Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Student’s Response to Jasmina Cibic: Movements

In Jasmina Cibic's Tear Down and Rebuild (2015), fragmented bits and pieces of script are woven together, like threads forming a tapestry. [1] Fondation Phi educator and art history teacher at Dawson College, Amanda Beattie invited her students to choose a subject linked to the exhibition (politics, art, architecture, feminism, and so forth) and reflect on Cibic’s use collage by writing a paragraph made up of a combination of quotations from various parties.

A Timeless Conversation on the Nature of Art
A collage by Erica Guérault

The Aesthete: “The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke [2].”
The Artist: “The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth, which sweeps you along in his passion. The pain passes, the beauty remai—[3].”
The Mercenary: “Art is what you can get away with [4], it is what it is and it ain’t nothing else [5].”
The Artist: “It must be good to die in the knowledge one will live on in the memory of at least a few and leave a good example for those who come after [6].”
The Mercenary: "No, the thing to do is try to make a painting that will be alive in your own lifetime [7]—making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art [8].”
The Aesthete: “The people who make art their business are mostly imposters [9]. Today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the word: Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya were great painters. I am only a public clown—a mountebank [10].”
The Artist: “Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art [11]. Painting is the grandchild of Nature. It is related to God [12].”
The Aesthete: “A true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection [13].”
The Mercenary: “Have no fear of perfection- you’ll never reach it [14]. God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style [15].”

The most unexpected lesson I take away from this exercise has to be the level of difficulty it takes to successfully achieve what Cibic has done, something I had previously failed to see. My final collage resembles more of a manipulated dialogue from different eras and perspectives rather than introspective fragments of thought that leave room for interpretation while underlying truths and complex ideas. I noticed that, similarly to Cibic’s piece, there’s something amusing in finding contradicting ideas/words coming from the same person. My first thought upon experiencing the exhibit was something along the lines of but is this art? As days went by, the mere hauntingness of the ideas she brings forth and their execution leave me no other choice than to think that such thought-provoking work must in fact, be great art (my attempt at this activity can only strengthen this conclusion). From Tear Down and Rebuild to the literal instrumentalization of a piece of architecture, to the re-imagining of a ballet exposing the manipulation of an allegorical mother-nation figure, to the illusionist piece—I’m running out of breath—Cibic beautifully toys with artistic, political and feminist concepts to reveal how nations toy in the same way with their image. It seems to me as though the exhibit as a whole works as a sort of collage, or perhaps as a puzzle, where every piece works together in order to form a greater picture (the term ‘weaving’ of ideas can also be used to illustrate this point, which resonates with her Stagecraft tapestry)—which again I now see, makes Jasmina Cibic an artist, and a good one actually.

[1] BEATTIE, Amanda. The Fakery of Rhetoric: Fragmentation in Jasmina Cibic’s Work.
[2] Jerzy Koninski
[3] Pierre-Auguste Renoir
[4] Andy Warhol
[5] Dan Flavin
[6] Vincent Van Gogh
[7] Marcel Duchamp
[8] Andy Warhol
[9] Pablo Picasso
[10] Pablo Picasso
[11] Leonardo Da Vinci
[12] Rembrandt
[13] Michelangelo
[14] Salvador Dalí
[15] Pablo Picasso

Erica Guérault is a second year Arts and Culture student in the Arts, Literature and Communication program at Dawson College.

Image: Jasmina Cibic, Tear Down and Rebuild, 2015. Production still. Courtesy of the artist.

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