so here I am in florence
connecting with the past
trying to find myself in a weird way
playing music in a strange land
full of cobwebs and fairies
that leap up at me and scare me
and wake me from my renaissance sleep
there is no past
only the present
where art screams from the river banks
and the railway lines
and I am lost again
my legs aching and my mind about to explode
i think I lost something here
and not my sanity
a weary contempt of the past
that did nothing but grind me down
and left me on the pavement
with nothing to think about
but oblivion and feelings of inadequacy
so here i am in florence
I found this blog when looking for images of Duchamp and decided to copy and post it here. It links to my ‘Vandalising Rothko’ piece and at the time I had no idea what Yellowism was! I found it very interesting so I reposted it in full. It is clear that Vladimir Umanets was very influenced by Duchamp. I want to make it clear that I do not necessarily agree with what’s written here, I’m not sure I can even understand it! However, I believe that Umanets was motivated by a strong force and the question “What Is Art For?” is still a valid pursuit. He showed courage and commitment to do what he did but I’m not convinced by his philosophy at this stage.
Here’s an interesting post from Interdome about the treatment of Umanets i.e. giving him a two year prison sentence for defacing the Rothko:
As a case study, let’s look at Ai’s Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn.
On the surface level, the photo set appears to mock artistic fetishism: Ai looks like he could not possibly give a fuck as he lets the valuable artifact shatter on the ground. There’s a sublime disregard in the pictures; it’s art against art like Kruger’s sentences are ads against ads. But as an artist, Ai can’t destroy art, he can only make more. From one urn, he gets three pictures. If I went into the Hirshhorn, grabbed one of the photos off the wall, and let it fall to ground like I didn’t give a fuck, I would be arrested and taken to jail. It’s only freedom of expression if you break something you own, otherwise it’s vandalism.
One true vandal learned this lesson (or taught it) very publicly when Vladimir Umanets was sentenced to two years in prison for writing “a potential work of yellowism” on a Mark Rothko painting in London’s Tate Modern. Yellowism is the idea that if anything can become art regardless of its use value, then we could imagine a third category of stuff past art, in light of which the art/non-art distinction dissolves. Both are equally potential works of yellowism, just like a soup can and a urinal are equally art objects. Umanets writing “a potential work of yellowism” on a Rothko is the same as Duchamp Sharpie-ing “a potential work of art” on a toilet while he takes a piss. Except Umanets isn’t an artist. We know he’s not an artist because he’s in jail in England, and England, Ai would remind us, has freedom of expression.
Umanets wasn’t looking for freedom of expression, but freedom from expression, out from under the artistic injunction to replace what you destroy. He wanted to break without buying, but that’s not in liberalism’s deal. And no one cries for a vandal.
Because Umanets is a vandal and not an artist, there won’t be any complaints from the U.S. State Department. Because this is England and not Russia, there won’t be a Human Rights Watch report, as there was for the band Pussy Riot when they were arrested for trespassing. Even anti-capitalist arts writers called for his head on a platter.
►► The Authors of the Death
by Marcin Lodyga
When looking from art perspective, one can say that yellowism is a dead territory where the richness of meanings and interpretations is reduced to one – to yellow. But one needs to remember that yellowists don’t announce the death of art. Art is and will be alive forever. They rather say that yellowism is dead, inert, homogeneous mass without creativity. Authors of the manifesto and definition of yellowism are the authors of the death – yellowists are the authors of a single interpretation. This death is positioned outside of art, like mirror.
Roland Barthes in “The Death of the Author” says: “To give a text an Author” and assign a single, corresponding interpretation to it “is to impose a limit on that text.” Barthes argues against the method of reading that relies on aspects of the author’s identity — their political views, historical context, religion, ethnicity, psychology, or other biographical or personal attributes — to distill meaning from the author’s work. Yellowists want to impose a limit on the text, on art, and on ordinary reality too, but not by giving a “text” an author. Paraphrasing Barthes I say: To give a “text” a YELLOW and assign a single, corresponding interpretation to it is to impose a limit on the text. Barthes demands the death of the author (author disappears) because the author’s identity limits the text, the reading. In yellowism case author also disappears and yellow – the necessary “limitation” appears instead of the author.
Inside yellowism the artistic kingdom of meanings and interpretations is erased together with the author. It doesn’t matter WHO made a piece of yellowism because all pieces were, are and will be about yellow only. Yellowism is permanent, boring, inert, homogeneous flat, ‘dead’ mass. Always was and always will be. Like in the forest where all the trees (meanings) ‘look’ the same – wherever you go you are in the same place anyway. A thousand kilometers left, two meters right or backwards – you are always in the same place. In yellowism the nature of the authors has “the identity of the indistinguishable forest”.
Barthes conclusion: “the birth of the reader must be ransomed by the death of the Author.” Yellowism conclusion: the death of meanings and the death of the author must be ransomed by the birth of single meaning – yellow.
“Sounds from the chamber”
piece of yellowism
for public audition in yellowistic chambers only
CD / audio recording of a walk through Miroslaw Balka exhibition Gravity made in the gallery space
executed in 2013
Anonymous asked: please can you explain the relevance of all the tits and bums on this site to yellowism. Is yellowism tits and bums? is that the context everything is reduced to?
5 Mar 2013 / 1 note
Anonymous asked: At least Marinetti was funny..
4 Mar 2013 / 1 note
►► Luncheon on the grass
(on the grass: Arthur Danto, Roy Turner, Joseph Kosuth, Marcin Lodyga)
What makes the difference between a Brillo box and a work of art consisting of a Brillo box is a certain theory of art. It is the theory that takes it up into the world of art, and keeps it from collapsing into the real object which it is. – Arthur Danto. But to expose the irrelevance of this idea when attributed to the tradition, we have only to ask what “real object”, “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Manet collapses into when the implicit theory which supported it is refuted. – ask another thinker Roy Turner (Philosophy Now magazine)
Marcin Lodyga starts: If “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Manet was placed in the context of yellowism, inside a yellowistic chamber, then it would stop to be a work of art and it would become a piece of yellowism – a pure expression of yellow color in the form of Manet painting. Inside yellowism the painting by Manet is not a work of art. We have only to ask what piece of yellowism “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Manet collapses into when the implicit context of yellowism which supported it is refuted. The answer: it collapses into a work of art, it becomes a work of art again, it gains its previous status.
Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting (not questioning ) the nature of art. One is then accepting the nature of art to be the European tradition of a painting-sculpture dichotomy. – nervously said Joseph Kosuth (“Art After Philosophy”). Dear Joseph – Marcin replies – in the context of yellowism – which is NOT a kind of total, huge conceptual art work, as you would consider it probably, painting is not a work of art. You said: “Art is the definition of art”, I say: yellowism is the definition of yellowism.
text by Marcin Lodyga
The Flaneur art blog- Should Umanets really be jailed for 2 years for defacing a Rothko? #yellowism –
New Post has been published onhttp://flaneur.me.uk/12/should-umanets-really-be-jailed-for-2-years-for-defacing-a-rothko-yellowism/
Should Umanets really be jailed for 2 years for defacing a Rothko? #yellowism
As a case study, let’s look at Ai’s Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn.
On the surface level, the photo set appears to mock artistic fetishism: Ai looks like he could not possibly give a fuck as he lets the valuable artifact shatter on the ground. There’s a sublime disregard in the pictures;…
justiceismine asked: Yellowism is neither art, nor anti-art but a cause. Some might ask if Yellowism is needed or say it’s pathetic/stupid but I say it deserves it’s place as did Jackson Pollock for example, which he did not get at his time.
6 Feb 2013 / 3 notes
spacecowboysparklefingers asked: No one is going to drink your yellow kool-aid. Your totalitarian snake oil ideology has been ineffectual and irrelevant since De Stijl/Neoplasticism tried it. There is no dialogue here, you won’t even respond to this with anything more than an “X”. Please don’t write on anymore Rothko’s (or any other pieces of art for that matter), they are not yours to write on, and some people really enjoy them. No one wants you here yellowism, go home.
6 Feb 2013 / 1 note
“You can start painting again, in yellowism”
signed and dated on the front
poster printed for the occasion of Duchamp season in Barbican, London
150 x 100 cm
executed in 2013
►► Rome outside of art
by Marcin Lodyga
Yellowism is not dadaism or neo-dadaism. If you think that yellowism is dadaism then actually you are a dadaist, because you try to devalue yellowism and make it meaningless. Dadaists were nihilists and they “promoted” nonsense. The fact that in yellowism everything means yellow leads to the wrong conclusion that everything means nothing and therefore yellowism is perceived as nihilism /dadaism. This is the big misunderstanding. The real consequence of yellowism existence is the philosophy of ONE and the vision of many different isms (existing outside of art) which can be reduced to (one) yellow-ism anyway. Although yellowism clones exist under different names – they are yellowism. In the future: many one-perspective “worlds”. Not only one “world” full of perspectives (meanings), many various subjective interpretations – like in postmodernism, especially postmodern art, but also many separate “worlds” (greenism, blueism, chairism) with one perspective each, concentrated on one meaning only. Yellowism, divided into many isms, will be positioned away from the forever developing, “organic” realm of art.
The total flattening announced by yellowists is more humanitarian than dadaism because it doesn’t leave people with nothing – inside the desert of meanings where you can watch only the wrecks and corpses of culture. Yellowists save one meaning (yellow) for everything and also they let you live in the “yellowistic totalitarian illusion of many”- you can exist in autonomous groups called greenism, blueism, chairism or skyism etc. but you will be a yellowist anyway. All roads lead to Rome. The universal Rome – the absolute truth will be always outside of art.
Dadaists are nihilists, they do not offer anything, they don’t show a new perspective, new possibilities, they replace everything with nothing. » Dada (…) wants nothing, absolutely nothing, and what it does is to make the public say ” We understand nothing, nothing, nothing “. “The Dadaists are nothing, nothing, nothing and they will surely succeed in nothing, nothing, nothing.” « 391, No. 12, Paris, March 1920 Francis Picabia who knows nothing, nothing, nothing.
Nihilists say that without absolute, universal, and transcendent values, there can be no real values at all. Friedrich Nietzsche, however, argues that the lack of such absolute values does not imply the absence of any values at all. Nietzsche “permits” the values of many different and even mutually exclusive perspectives. This is called “perspectivism” – all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made. This leads (me) to postmodernism. Postmodernism is the consequence of Nietzsche’s perspectivism but is nihilistic. The proliferation of alternative perspectives, beliefs and values makes that postmodern society is foundationless.
This what we see in the galleries is the result of postmodernism or post-post modernism, or postpostpostmodernism, whatever. Many perspectives, many points of view, not one grand and universal but many interpretations closed inside the circle called “art”. In the future artists will resign from art, will abandon this circle. Art full of many perspectives will still exist but will be surrounded by – isms. Some artists will never leave the territory of art but there will be yellowists, greenists, chairists looking at them from outside – located in one perspective circles.
All the other isms are actually yellow-ism because, they have the same architecture, logic. Finally they can be reduced to yellowism, flattened to yellow-ism. However, people will need this totalitarian illusion of many isms, they will construct their own contexts, for example greenism,redism, chairism or godism, and they will be happy inside the isms but all the new one-meaning worlds can be always considered as yellowism.
Yellowism doesn’t replace (like dadaism) all the values with nothing, yellowism gives one sense instead of nonsense. Yellowism presents the vision of many autonomous territories around multiperspective art. Yellowism saves the ONE – whatever it is: blue, green, chair and offers the new grand philosophy of ONE.
Marcin Lodyga, Khadija Davies
Portrait of Members of Art & Language with Caps, in the Style of Jackson Pollock
signed and dated 18/01/13 on the front
magazine cover, pink ink
22.4 x 28.6 cm
Executed in 2013
The authors of manifesto and definition of yellowism Marcin Łodyga and Vladimir Umanets at The British Museum in London (January 2012).
© Sylwester Kolton.
►► Discipline and punish.The birth of the black hole
Yellowists see the whole domain of reality and the whole domain of art as gigantic readymades which can be transported into the context of yellowism. Yellowism is a specific prison, a ghetto in which you are free from freedom, in which the freedom of interpretation doesn’t exist. Every content placed in this territory defines yellow color. It requires a noetic discipline. You have to respect the internal yellowism law. Yellowism is a bit like a black hole – most of the information about the matter that went into forming the black hole is lost. In the end yellowism only remembers the total mass, charge, and angular momentum. The physical form of objects and beings transported from art and reality is preserved, but all the forms carry only one, always and forever the same, identical message. You can observe that something is moving inside, you can watch pieces of yellowism free from the past and future; there is a movement but there is actually no time.
Yellowists don’t punish art, they don’t take a revenge on art or reality. Manifesto of yellowism is not a death sentence for art. Yellowists don’t destroy and don’t create. Yellowism is not vandalism and it’s not a form of creation. There is no postmodern, Derrida’s deconstruction, any destruction or creative construction inside yellowism. There is something else: flatstruction. Everything is flattened to yellow, all interpretations are ironed to one flat surface, to one meaning. The total flattening (flatstruction) is a state of permanent homogeneity. Yellowists don’t create and they don’t destroy, they make everything flat therefore, inside yellowism, deconstruction, creativity, vandalism, surrealism or fascism or anything else is flattened to one, to the expression of yellow.
Artists push the boundaries of art and are imprisoned in their seeming freedom. Yellowists are free outside of art. They resigned from art, they overstepped the boundary and the fact that everything can be about yellow gives them the almost cosmic freedom.
text by Marcin Lodyga
►► A dead animal
Today you can overstep the border, you can be a bit like Alice through the looking glass, you don’t have to, together with other artists, push the boundaries of art further anymore, now it’s time to cross it and discover the another, still unknown for many, space called yellowism. Of course, you can stay where you are and run your artistic life in harmony with the motion of postmodernism. Yellowists don’t announce the end of art; they say in manifesto: art is a forever developing whole. They don’t promote a slogan: “art is dead”, they rather say that yellowism is dead and always was dead and always will be dead. Therefore they don’t want to replace art with yellowism. They just introduce a new autonomous territory, specific environment which is parallel to the context of art. They give you a vision of time in culture when the resignation from art will be a trend. Yellowists show you the possibility of alternative existence in which the fact that you abandon art is considered as the most creative decision. It doesn’t matter what the condition of art will be after twenty or hundred years – yellowism will be still the same. Any changes and any progress around yellowism are and will be, metaphorically speaking, like a tank of formaldehyde for a dead animal.
text by Marcin Lodyga
- Why Modernism is favourable to Post-Modernism in the arts (beatsviews.wordpress.com)
- Toward Reader Theory (keltblog.wordpress.com)
- Letter From An Alien: Deconstruction #fridayflash (quietgirlriot.wordpress.com)
- No thing (3ammagazine.com)
- Roland Barthes (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Death of the Writer, Birth of the Journalist (nothingconsequential.wordpress.com)
- Life Imitates Art? (americanpomo.wordpress.com)
- Here’s a Potential Piece of Yellowism Documentary (animalnewyork.com)
The news item that interested me most in the past week is about the vandalising of a Mark Rothko canvas in the Tate gallery. The kind of outcry that this caused was quite interesting. An article by Jonathon Jones in The Guardian described it as virtually a sacrilegious act even though it’s not a religious painting. He displays a sense of awe and wonder that puts all Great Artists on a pinnacle and compares their work to some kind of deep spiritual experience. Other articles in the same paper either give a history of the grand tradition of vandalising art or described works of art that might be improved by vandalism!
Included in his article Jonathon Jones expresses outrage concerning the vandalism of Michelangelo’s Pieta with a hammer. I dare say many people share this outrage and agree with the many comments on Twitter that would condemn these perpetrators to torture, death or worse. However, there as been a long history of vandalising Great works of art. I am writing this in Florence, Italy and found out before this recent act that Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture David was vandalised with a hammer shortly after it was erected. It seems that hammers, knives and machetes are the most favoured weapons of destruction for vandalising art but shotguns and sulphuric acid have also been used. The statue symbolised Florence’s republican resistance to the autocracy of the Medicis (David versus Goliath) and was seen as a legitimate target by the supporters of the aristocracy! But perhaps the biggest collective act of vandalism occured during the English Civil War when a massive amount of art work and buildings were destroyed by the Puritans. Henry VIII was quite a major perpetrator as well when he dissolved the monasteries in search of loot!
Vladimir Umanets was an unknown Pole until last week. Now he has achieved celebrity by tagging Rothko’s “Black on Maroon” at the Tate Modern. He compares himself to Marcel Duchamp who signed a urinal and presented it for exhibition in 1917 thus creating perhaps the first piece of conceptual art. He also likens himself to Damian Hurst who has signed his name to work he has not done. Umanets has said he is part of a new art movement (consisting of him and one other) called Yellowism. He expresses an appreciation of Rothko’s work who he sees as a seminal Yellowist. Now, is this guy crazy or is he making a valid point?
Duchamp famously produced a post card featuring the Mona Lisa on which he drew a moustache and goatee beard. No doubt, he would have preferred to have defaced the real picture but was either unable to or too scared of the consequences. Either way it was a controversial act that blew a giant raspberry at the art establishment and became iconic in it’s own right and later, in a parody of the conventions of classical art, was copied by Salvador Dali albeit with a different moustache. Dali had his own style in vandalism. When presented with a picture by Andy Warhol, apparently he threw it on the floor and pissed on it. Warhol remained calm and detached throughout. Perhaps he couldn’t decide whether it was a compliment or an insult!
I think Umanets was quite brave in what he did. Witnesses say he sat quietly for a long time and then wrote on the painting with a black pen. He knew he would be caught and was ready with his explanation. Unfortunately, he either hasn’t said (or it hasn’t been reported) what Yellowism actually is. This would make it more meaningful like the anti-war protest perpetrated on Picasso’s Guernica. Defacing Great works of art will always get you attention and will guarantee you a place in history (although maybe for all the wrong reasons)!
Another remarkable case of vandalism was when suffragette Mary Richardson attacked Rokeby’s Venus with a meat cleaver. This actually became a picture in itself. She was drawing attention to the hunger strike of Mrs. Pankhurst that was happening at the time. Considering the subject matter of the painting it could also been seen as an act of proto-feminism.
Personally, my favourite piece of art vandalism is when two Chinese students stripped to the waist and had a pillow fight on Tracy Emin’s Bed. Although, in this case, a more effective piece of vandalism would be if someone sneaked in and tidied it up and washed the sheets. Now that would be hilarious!
Here is a link to James Riley’s superb talk: