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From: Helge Janssen
Date received: September 24
Peter Machen's curious opinion of Kaganof's Velvet as exhibited at the KZNSA gallery last month has just reached my attention. However, I would still like to make the following point as evidence of just ONE of the ways in which Peter's comment is riddled with projected assumption and only serves to display his uncharacteristically trite perjudices and which therefore makes the review meaningless:
Kaganof was never part of 1980s gothic, a special brand of which came only from South Africa so HOW could this film be accessorised by him from that period? Kaganof left this country in 1984 when goth was hardly up and running, spending the next 25 years studying and experiencing Europe, in particular Holland. Matmos, the gothic band used as soundtrack, emerged in 1998/9!!! On a time scale that is more than 15 years out of date!
This statement alone (there are many others) therefore becomes utterly meaningless in the CORRECT context.
From: Helge Janssen
Date received: October 1
CLOSER....CLOSER....A QUEST TOWARDS THE GARDEN OF EDEN
(a personal overview of the work/ism of Aryan Kaganof in the light Machen's challenging and controversial, and unresearched, statements)
To say that Kaganof's real artistic product is not his work but his self shows a somewhat skewered perception of Kaganof's work and displays an attempt to reduce him to a personality, and to dismiss him as such. Is this not rather patronising?
It is IMPOSSIBLE to separate Kaganof from his work...he IS his work...
Kaganof's 'process' therefore has been to PLUMB THE SELF - IN SO DOING HE IS DOING EXACTLY WHAT ANY CONTEMPORARY ARTIST IS BEING EXHORTED TO DO - FOR THIS TIME AND THIS PLACE 2008 ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. IN THIS SENSE KAGANOF IS TOTALLY IN TOUCH WITH THE ZEITGEIST OF CONTEMPORARY ART/EXISTENCE, both globally and locally.
This does not reduce his work to the 'lightweight' or whatever weight... it has everything to do with GRAVITY.... gravitas...
...therefore the aforementioned statement has little meaning in a modern day artistic context.
This IS what contemporary art is all about... if not what real art HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT given these ever updated/updating reference points!! It is shocking that there are those who do not understand this utterly essential ingredient in Kaganof's work, who thereby try to do everything to belittle him... sidelining issues with he certainly likes a circus!! What on earth has that got to do with his art... you might just as well judge him on the way in which he drives his car...really!!
Kaganof is so much at the forefront of this artistic realisation that it is understandable that he is being misunderstood, BUT TO BE ATTACKED SO STUPIDLY defies analysis in civilised society!! We should in fact be applauding, urging him on, not telling him that his work is not cutting edge enough!!
But if Kaganof is being misunderstood, that still does not make him a huckster...
I mean HOW do you respond if someone tells you you're a huckster?? Look at them pityingly and say, 'Well, honey, I am that mirror that you put up to yourself... so say whatever you like'?
This does not mean that Kaganof AGREES WITH THEM... he is just being polite...
In the 28 years or so that I have known Kaganof I have NEVER KNOWN him to throw shit at the wall.
I have read almost everything he has written and seen at least 50% of his work!!!
This therefore becomes an utterly inaccurate statement that some idiot flings out when they cannot comprehend the mechanism behind the creation, and amounts to a projected assumption based on that person's own tacky perception (sadly).
And to say that Kaganof has an 'utter refusal to rein things in' as if this is now a crime deluxe further exacerbates every artists need to give themselves artistic license. They do not understand exactly how he DOES REIN things in... they only see what has already gone though an entire ARRIVAL PROCESS... ie the CONCLUSION THAT HIS INVESTIGATIONS has brought him to... and wouldn't it be just too DUMB for anybody to go through that process AND THEN PRE-EMPT THE CONCLUSION?!!
It is more likely THIS that KAGANOF refuses to do, than to refuse to rein things in.
Once again it appears that there is a paradigm shift necessary in the ordinary consciousness to get to grips with his oeuvre. In so doing, is Kaganof actually not making an enormous contribution to the EVOLUTION OF ART? Is he not in fact REALIGNING art, bringing it back into constructive focus? Haven't we all been through the arguments about art having lost its way... particularly with the rather sad diversion of 'instillation' art that seemed to rob us of what 'art' really is...?????
I DO NOT KNOW OF ANY OTHER ARTIST CURRENTLY WORKING IN THIS AREA... BUT THERE MUST BE... OTHERS IN OTHER COUNTRIES ALSO STRUGGLING WITH THE MIND SETS OF THEIR UNIMAGINATIVE FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS!!
Kaganof thus represents an extremely heightened form of expression of an innate ARTISTIC INTEGRITY and seems to be currently beyond most (ordinary) peoples' comprehension. Is this now suddenly Kaganof's FAULT?
In working with others, Kaganof GIVES/AFFORDS THE OTHER PERSON SOVEREIGNTY....which may come across to the short-sighted as 'anything goes'. And because he does not IMPOSE his artistic vision on others (he may shock, confront, take you unawares... but you can always just get up and walk out... he does not condemn you for it... he may be saddened by it... that you are not rising to the challenge... and undoubtedly he will find your taboo, AS HE HAS FOUND HIS) where in fact he is being incredibly generous with his artistic time.
'But it is foolish to take Kaganof at one's own face value. To do so is to get entangled in a web of personal likes and dislikes, revealing ones own psychological imperfections, and this serves no purpose whatsoever.' This quote was taken from my own review of Velvet which I feel is particularly apt under the circumstances.
For Machen to state that he is 'charged with calling his (Kaganof's) bluff' is so preposterously ludicrous a statement it makes me wonder if Machen hasn't lost his mind??
He is basically telling Kaganof that he is a liar and a fraud.
I think this amounts to DEFORMATION/DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER.
The least left for Machen to do is to apologise profusely, deeply, and publicly.
He can always plead TEMPORARY INSANITY!!!