Parasitical Appropriation of Las Meninas by Contemporary Artists

Bracey, Andrew (2021) Parasitical Appropriation of Las Meninas by Contemporary Artists. In: Call and Response, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 June 2021, RCA and University of Greenwich, London (online).

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

This presentation will discuss additional criteria to the semiotic and post-structuralist readings for appropriation in art. My contention is that there is currently a critical bias in interpretations of artworks that use appropriation and that this is limiting our understanding. I will frame the position of parasitical appropriation through my curatorial concept behind the project, Enough is Definitely Enough and use examples from some of the 62 artists who created new works in response to Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas.

The parasite is widely understood to be an organism that causes harm to a host organism, which creates a bias towards negative associations and can lead to other views of parasites being undermined bydominant understandings. A semiotic approach can be recognised as reading appropriation in the conventional meaning of parasitism, as something that takes from and weakens its host, the appropriated image. A good way to articulate a different approach is to re-think the parasite as a metaphorical tool for appropriation, to unpack those ways that parasites can also be mutualist, symbiotically positive for host, parasite and the wider ecosystem.

The parasitic artist appropriator can also be considered as a mutualist, giving gain to both themselves and the host image - in this case Las Meninas. Parasitical appropriation is a methodology for re-looking at appropriation in art, through qualities such as, materiality, the body, peripheral elements, and the tacit knowledge of an artist. I contend that the artist, as a maker, approaches and understands appropriated material in ways that are often undervalued, undermined or ignored by other critical voices. The parasitical element is intentionally provocative in its use, as it is similarly based on a misunderstanding of the parasite as being a negative ‘pest’ that ignore and undermine other mutually benefical possibilities.

Keywords:appropriation, art, contemporary art, parasitical painting, appropriation art
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Fine Arts)
ID Code:45300
Deposited On:23 Jul 2021 10:56

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