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While we are on the theme this month with Sal Randolphs idea of free exchange, it is interesting to look back at the work of our previous contributing artist Vicente Butron. An engaging idea that both the social practitioner and the painter reference the idea of contemporary art coming full circle from the modernist idea of art as commodity. Possibly the fundamental premise that makes up the foundation of how and why we continue to ignite RAYGUN, giving it life with such informed and brilliant minds. Check out his work titled AUTO-DISSOLUTION / A LIMITED ACTION from his 2010 exhibition at Sydney Gallery Factory 49

Here are Vicentes thoughts from his show with us….

auto-dissolution / a limited action of September and October 2013

Deliquesence briefly…

Throughout its relatively short history in art, those set of values and systems that we call modernism have appeared to strive towards a linear and historical end game. Towards what has been called the post-modern and now, to the dissolute condition we witness. A condition where it desperately clings to converted histories and where it wantonly aspires to include and be included in all things. Where it exists almost solely by virtue of currency, value and exchangeability of any kind.

This is a condition where art no longer simply presents or represents, abridges, challenges or proposes, nor does it any longer afford any significant behaviour that is steeped in ritual. It now almost solely exists by the integrity of its status as a consumable product. This re-positions cultural exchange outside of the artist and the viewer to an exchange between product (and supplier) and the consumer. A state that accounts for the requirements of exchange as being for it’s own sake – a positivistic state that determines it’s principles and meanings only through it’s own systems to the disregard of external or relative influences. Thus, art has become the token consumed and now disempowered of its autonomy.

All this would be fine, if only were it not that art is itself depreciated of it’s cultural potential; of it’s cultural privilege. In as much as we (cultural producers) are willing to presume, all that is left now is for a sense of assessment of it’s condition or indeed – for it’s own dissolution. This is in order for art to flourish independently, to allow art to reclaim any cultural privilege it has lost and to become pertinent and abundant in its effects.

This work here, on one level proposes to fulfill the modernist charter of inclusion and then to go beyond the overworked idea of the readymade as something to be re-instigated and re-presented as art. It proposes to re-situate art and its activities and induct it un-autonomously into that which is not normally regarded as part of its enterprise and to truly make it “everyday”. It claims the routine, commonplace and mundane activities, the daily craft of life as itself the nexus of cultural pursuits. I would like to take the example left by Conceptual Art – where the idea became the work of art and to extend this further – so that we can now begin to consider that it is art itself that is simply the idea.

These prints, reproductions, designs, objects, etc. consist of a sampling of work that I have made within the past year as part of daily, work-a-day life and interests. I do inevitably make the compromise once again here in the way these are re-presented within the ‘framework’ of an artwork by utilizing the white picture frame beloved by Conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s. However I try doing so without concession to a contemporary conventional work of art. As indexes, notes almost, this Limited Action asserts that a work of art need not exist exclusively as a conventional art object to be exchanged as commodity. They are not for sale.

As it’s final point I would like this work to assert that in this auto-dissolution, all activities, services and actions are a central to a total art practice and integral to a cultural and visual exchange in itself. I wish to show that the experience of an artwork persists and is prolonged through numerous implications and it’s numerous lives. To paraphrase and extend Kyle Jenkins’ work and statements in his exhibition prior to this here: “If you don’t care, then why think about it?” – to, if you do care then you must think about it.

Rita Carlos for Vicente Butron


Vicente Butron

lives in Sydney, born in the Philippines 1959, migrated to Australia 1973, attended Sydney College of the Arts 1981-1984, exhibited locally and internationally, not too many solo exhibitions, not too many collections, works whenever he can, exhibits when he wants.

Filed under: Exhibitions, People

About the Author

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RAYGUN PROJECTS is an artist run initiative run by artists Alexandra Lawson and Tarn McLean located in the CBD of Toowoomba, Australia. 2011-2018.

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