James Hyde truth construction openness

James Hyde. Between Bild and Built as print version (PDF 2.490 KB)


Between Bild and Built

in: Alexi Worth, Michael Lüthy, Catherine Perret: James Hyde, Paris/Brussels 2005, S. 20-43.

Chapter 5: Modeling

Despite all its attention to the medium-form process, Hyde’s art does not amount to formalism. The context is broader: „In a way,“ Hyde has said, „I treat painting as an anthropological subject.“ It is a matter of the relationships we find between things and the ways we handle and perceive these things. What is the relation between the things and the pictures, between the everyday objects and the art objects? When and why do we react to them pragmatically, when and why aesthetically? Are Hyde’s Handles utility objects, or objects of contemplation? And what use are we making of objects when we contemplate them?
We model the world from the elements and information we encounter therein. We order and configure this material in such a way that the world emerges as meaningful and coherent. Only thus can we orient ourselves in the world. The world is not truth but construction – and this essentially modern shift in perspective has also caused a major reorientation in art, a reorientation that first became clearly manifest in the Cubist collage and in Russian Constructivism. Since the 19th century, art has no longer positioned itself as a space where truth is revealed, but as one of openness, where sense and meaning are created through the modeling activity of the viewer. The artwork engages us in a game by demanding of us that we first construct the aesthetic object, the artwork. In this game the artist bets on both „material“ and „meaning“. The material of the artwork makes an appeal to us: it claims to be not just an agglomeration of substance but also a meaningful constellation. Thus it arouses in us the expectation of meaning, which we seek to satisfy through a process of modeling in which we configure our observations.
This openness of the artwork is like the openness of the world. But if this is how things are, then wherein lies the higher value of art? In keeping with Hyde we can offer the following answer: it lies in the fact that in art this modeling activity, whereby things are constituted, is laid open to view. In processing our awareness it is as if we were able to look over our own shoulders while we performed this activity. The material contradicts the meaning, allowing the artwork to appear as mere material, while conversely the success of the form contradicts the idea that what we are confronted with is mere materiality. In the case of an artwork, the production, or rather discovery, of meaning in the material gives rise to form. In this respect, Christine Buci-Glucksmann has rightly noted that for Hyde, painting provides not so much a model for the world as an analysis of a relationship to the world. Hyde’s objects provide a framework that allows us to deal reflexively with the irreducible ambivalence of seeing and of our modeling of the world. In contrast to our everyday orientation, we can leave it undecided – and indeed, this is part of their appeal – whether Hyde’s Handles are utility objects or painting.

Chapter 1: A Joyous Science
Chapter 2: Painting as the Space Between
Chapter 3: Medium and Form
Chapter 4: Material or Immaterial?
Punkt James Hyde Chapter 5: Modeling
Pfeil James Hyde Chapter 6: Working Space
James Hyde. Between Bild and Built as print version (PDF 2.490 KB)