Friday, October 05, 2007
Jonathan Meese Ezra Pound
Recently I was surprised to find such a wealth of clips on Jonathan Meese on Youtube. Documents of his performances, TV spots interviewing him, and some of his videos. This one in particular is brilliant. I can't stop watching it. The music and sound is so simple, with a catchy synth hook. The visuals are captivating as well. It has a pretty straightforward premise, a Felliniesque pageant where a cast of characters, all representative of something, parade on stage in a grand finale. Only in this case it is all finale, start to finish. There is something so right and satisfying about the cycle the piece runs through, it is complete. The title, at least the Youtube title, is Ezra Pound, so I can only guess that is the source of the voiceover. To me, the words aren’t as important as the verbal effect, and between the other sounds, the music, and the complex visuals, it is hard to pay careful attention to the verse.
This work also speaks volumes to the charisma of Jonathan Meese, the artist most convincingly picking up where Joseph Beuys left off. Meese’s work in general furthers the violent critique of Western culture (specifically Germanic) begun with Dada and continued with Fluxus. Of course this is not the totality of his work, but it is a framework for gaining some sort of basic understanding.
Pretty much running contrary to my contextual analysis is this quote from the artist:
"Art needs no context, no history. That's why I become so furious if somebody thinks they can tell me what art is. Nobody knows that, and it's not a bad thing that we don't know it. One of the few mysterious areas of life!"