ESSAYS ON PHOTOGRAPHY
SISYPHYS HOWLS "OM" AT ZEUS
The Unity of the Absurd and Meaning
"I create absurd performances documented by photography. These performances or events are absurd, because they are not simply improbable – they are unacceptable in the every-day existence. Arthur Danto, with his full gravitas, is throwing up colourful plastic eggs in his contribution to Damien Hirst’s “spot paintings” in the series “People of Art as Objects of Art.” People are fighting with plastic and eating plastic in the series “The World is Made of Plastic.” A woman is mourning her own death in the series “Double Portraits.”
Conventionally, the absurd is separated from meaning and opposed to it. The absurd that I create is absolutely of another kind – it is inseparable from meaning. To start with, I have a completely meaningful purpose for my extreme absurdism: to test major concepts of human civilization. If the result appears to be totally absurd, this has something to say about both the conceptual foundations of our society, and about the established separation of the absurd from the meaningful. In the situations that I create, my actors are confronted with some concept in such a way that they enact this concept in an event that happens not only in the continuum of my art, but also in the continuum of their most intimate life. I do not put my actors like mechanical dolls into an artificial setup, as is fashionable now. In my images, the concept is not external and superior to the actors’ existence. A super-hero, in my image “Fast and Furious” (series “The World is Made of Plastic”) fights with plastic with such an intensity that he believes in the importance and meaningfulness of his absurd fight. At the time of the shoot, he believes that he is a super-hero. I do not cut off the oxygen to make my actors less alive, more zombie or cyborg-like, but to the contrary, I create extra minutes, hours and years of their lives, extra dimensions, extra spaces for them to live in with the most intense meaningfulness. This meaningfulness is surely of another kind than is commonly believed -- it is inseparable from the absurd."