FREE ALEXANDER BRENER
Russian artist waiting to be sentenced in the Netherlands!
popAgent Marina Grzinic, Ljubljana, Slovenia , 12.2. 97
How many of you know that Russian artist Alexander Brener is at this precise moment in jail in the Netherlands waiting to be sentenced for an attack on Malevich painting, as a part of his performance art projects strategies? Precisely he will be accused of vagabondage and destruction of the Malevich painting "Suprematism 1922-1927".
In the following pop-agent-space I will try to discuss and understand Breners action in a polemical way. My opinion is that Brener must be released and I will try to show this not with going back in details in all his art activity and history but just through a simply political reading of the relation between ART and the individual artists, and EAST-WEST relations.
We could ask for his immediate release just laying on the facts of the History of art that is full of similar projects of annihilations, mutilations, destroying acts against not solely the artists body (body art) but against the "body" of institutions of art (conceptual neo-avant-garde movements, etc). But in this case is just as the authorities do not want to accept a wide public opinion the one in favor to Brener actions. Yes it is possible to say that art actions have certain limits, and after these limits the art action is conversed to a criminal act. So, which is the limit when in a name of " a kind of a moral borders in art", an other public opinion is asking that A. Brener has to be put in jail, has to be punished; to the point that Brener will function as an example for other artists.
The answers to the questions "what limits Brener surpassed" and "which artists are those who are without limits" will provide us with more arguments against this nonetheless action to put and maybe to process an artist performance.
In my opinion the limits are the limits of an ART perceived as INSTITUTION in the strict way of the word, an institution filled and invested by money- by capital, protégé by critics and a whole hierarchy of state art institutions and private investments. We have to clear here that Malevich pictures are also! precious art because of the investiture of money in it through the whole process of everyday going estimation of art pieces and prizes for art pieces growing day by day in the same way as real estate. So "destroying" art works is not an attack solely against art perceived as institution, but art equivalent to CAPITAL in back of it. The most perverse element of the Brener performance is that it is in a way consciously mirroring this processes in modern art. Putting the mark of the US dollar on Malevich picture (what Brener did) is the exact positioning of what is going on in art today. So he will be (we hope maybe not) processed because of his cynical positioning.
But those who has repressive tools and among others money in their back are prepared to show him an even greater cynicism, putting Brener in jail is a way to show him and other artists the borders of the morals in art that is in the last instance the "moral" of Capital.
And second which artists surpassed the limits and connections in art established by the Western civilized world? Those coming from the east European worlds, the not civilized barbaric one ( ?) , who are not functioning according to the market rules and rules of private property in Art perceived as institution.
So, Brener is fighting with his projects, concepts generally speaking against an institution of money and power named ART and supported by a squad of lawyers, state administrations factors etc. This institution of art is the one which can not permit to put under question its bases of functioning: capital - money as blood in the real sense of the word of the body - corpus - named Art. (With a big A as a parallel world.)
So, in this unequal fight Brener will lost the battle because he did not censorship himself properly, because he did not just stage the critic about Art but really performed it . Or maybe not, maybe we can ask for mercy and a moral gesture from this same institution of ART which until now never showed any morality at all. And maybe the institution of art will demonstrate an act of morality releasing BRENER as its ultimate cynical gesture.
THE LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR BRENER AS PUBLISHED ON THE V2EAST Mailinglist
From: Margrz@zrc-sazu.si (Marina Grzinic) (Marina Grzinic)