25 April 2014 • by Caroline Byrne
GOYA Gate Debate: boyleANDshaw
"I think the work should be eaten after it's made."
At our recent Gate Debate for I'D RATHER GOYA..., Adrian Shaw, of the of the artistic duo, boyleANDshaw, proposed that the work they made for the foyer installation for I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me Of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole would be best consumed when the show comes to an end. The proposal came out of a discussion about the purposes and value of art. Is it about truth or beauty? What’s it for? Who’s it for? Is the art for the artist or for the viewer? And that was the question we were most curious about.
It has to be about the maker primarily – it comes out of a kind of shared autobiography between (Matt) boyle and (Adrian) shaw. A collective attempt and comment on collaboration. Their aesthetic or beauty is their truth or politic.
I was secretly delighted that we had commissioned an artistic duo for Gate Curate for this show, as it seemed most apt that there was more than one interface with Goya, as historically there have been multiple rectifications of his Goya’s work. The Chapman brothers notoriously practiced on / with Goya’s black paintings. ( If you have the time, you should read Dr. Ruth Adam’s fascinating talk she gave here about art and art histories curiosity and collusion with Goya’s work – particularly his black paintings).
Anyway, where was I…eating your own work. Yes. The act of eating what you make becomes an attempt at actually preserving it from other people usurping or re-appropriating it. We know that Goya’s black paintings were never intended for public consumption. In fact, thinking about the domestic nature of eating, it’s interesting to remind ourselves that Goya painted his dark materials on the walls of him own home. In and around his kitchen, his living rooms. The paintings were eventually removed and relocated to the Prado. They were enabled to their fullest potential because they were never to be encountered – deeply personal, hugely political – truthful and beautiful. A collaboration with himself, of sorts.
It became clear that consuming the art at the end as a radical political gesture felt like an apt and fitting response to the play itself. I initially thought this was funny, but the more I think about destroying one’s own work, erasing it, taking it from the viewer, and leaving no remains this becomes a deeply provocative and symbolically social and personal gesture.
Do we need an account of everything? Maybe then it becomes something admired. Captured. Static? At least if we knew it would be only fleeting we might make the experience of engaging with it more kinetic.
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I'd Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole
Drugs, booze, Disneyland - and Francisco Goya.