Mar 16, 2012

Real Slow Art

I was doing a bit of research the other day, I'd got in my head that maybe my sculpture was something like the equivalent of slow or real food so I Googled  Slow art and this came up.

From a Robert Hughes dinner speech at the Royal Academy of Arts: 

“What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and making whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn’t merely sensational, that doesn’t get its message across in ten seconds, that isn’t falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures.”

Sounded OK too me, I could sign up to that but I looked bit further and started to mutter a few expletives as I saw what was masquerading as slow art, there was some very smooth laboured mock 19c bourgeois realism promoting itself as the bees knees in slow art, it probably took a long time to do (dogged) but it was falsely iconic, very easy to understand but had far too much cholesterol for my taste.

And then came the Slow Art Collective from Melbourne who'd gone as far as to supply this manifesto, my comments in colour.

- Take time to observe everyday life carefully. I'll go along with this

- Choose simple materials that connect with the artist’s life. I'll go along with this as well but we are beginning to slide away from the slow food idea of great natural ingredients.

- Focus on a process of art making rather than object making. The work always changes subtly, and grows like a living organism. And this one too, but why "living organism"? I don't know.

- Create art works on site from zero. Spend time on site to experience the space, physically and internally. When the exhibition finishes, go back to zero. Seek the meaning of artwork that doesn’t last. Now this one slips off the dinner table all together - sure slow food advocates can scrounge around the roadside for free salad but what's the point of making food you mustn't eat?

- Interact with other artists and society. Blur the boundaries between artist and audience. This one is just too elitist for me, sure engagement with the public is an essential part of art but the boundaries are in the artist's minds not the public's.

Shame that drawing a link between Real/Slow Food and Art has been high jacked by stuff that's way  off the mark


  1. hi C & C @ Cowwarr
    Just thought I'd let you know that Chaco Kato - one of the Slow Art Collective members (who I think wrote that manifesto) is in Swifts Creek this week as part of our (f)route project. ( I too have quoted the Slow Art Collective manifesto as a very resonant approach to art for us here in East Gippsland). :-) so hope you don't mind us giving it a plug here!

    You can see a bit about Chaco's proposal here:

    and here:

    She'll be working on site - in the Cassilis Cemetery - all this week. We have a (f)route breakfast planned for Thursday morning 9am if anyone would like to join us there.

    We also have a call out for photographers who might want to come and help us document what should be a stunning work.

    1. Sorry I missed that - I get so few comments on the blog that I often don't even notice if there is one, will check your www