Pablo Valbuena’s Augmented Sculpture v. 1.2 is a remarkable synthesis of modernist-minimalist sculpture and video projection. Strangely this fascinating piece was not shown at the main Ars Electronica 2007 exhibition space in the OK Centrum Gallery but was instead relegated to a rather decrepit building on the streets of Linz. Fortunately we wandered around the town long enough to stumble upon it.
One of the interesting features of Valbuena’s Augmented Sculpture is that it possesses an elegant simplicity that belies considerable technical skill. One wonders how he managed to exactly coordinate the lines and shapes projected in the two dimensional video onto his three-dimensional geometrical sculptural “screen”. It is a masterpiece of perspective.
Possessing a high level of skill is fairly common in the field of media art to which Valbuena belongs. In contrast, in the rarefied world of fine art, skill has to a significant extent been defined as irrelevant in the wake of the viral proliferation of the Duchampian Readymade and the fashion for grunge that dominates sculpture and sculptural installation at the turn of the millennium.
Fine art discarded skill in favour of the idea, however the reality is that the intellectual depth of a significant amount of contemporary art does not withstand scrutiny. And so we are often left with vapid junk. Eventually this junk will be forgotten as only small percentage of the artistic production of one fashionable generation is remembered when the next new generation is brought onto the shelves of the fine art emporiums.
I would encourage art lovers to visit more media art events because they are considerably more intellectually stimulating and aesthetically rewarding than what is on offer in the market and star-driven world of fine art. The problem with fine art is that one often has to put an enormous amount of effort into finding something worthwhile whereas in the sphere of media art one discovers both greater depth and more breadth. Ars Electronica is certainly an absolute must for any art lover’s calendar and it takes place every year! (link)