"Teach Art" by Stephen Kaltenbach (*1940)

Collection privée, aluminium, 10 x 10 x 45 cm (s. d.)

Stephen Kaltenbach […] When I first got to New York I showed a friend of mine a specific group of my own work; we were working with the same materials and generally the same approach. I came to his studio about three months later and I saw a lot of my pieces around, all done his way, much bigger and much better. Of course at first I felt the whole thing artists feel when they think someone else is taking their work. Then I realized it was a sort of compliment. He liked my work well enough to extend it. It seemed ludicrous to be uptight about it. That suggested the possibility of trying to do my work through other people […] I felt I was really doing work, and it occurred to me that this was another way to escape my own taste, by taking a principle I was working with and channeling it through someone else.
P[atrica] N[orvell]: Are you publicizing any of this?

SK: “It is potentially loaded ego-wise, and I’m not into causing anybody any uptightness or feelings that I’m trying to get credit for what they did […] Since then I’ve gone on to other things. I’m into what I call teach-art now, with my students. It’s the more traditional way of doing the same thing, and in a sense it’s more logical and less specific because I’m trying not to give them my ideas but to push them to get their own ideas. But again I can accept that as my work. Because anything can be your work, anything you feel, anything you can imagine. Teaching art is one way of expressing myself. It is a two-way thing. I get a lot of ideas from my students and the exchange clarifies my own ideas.
PN: On what grounds does an observer judge, evaluate your work?

SK: The idea can be evaluated. Nothing else can. People are accepting the possibility that you can’t criticize this kind of work, and as a result the really imaginative art critics are into passing out information rather than making their own value judgments. In a sense, they are really becoming artists. In fact, just living could really be a valid means, for an artist to express himself.

Lucy R. Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972..., Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997 (Originally published in 1973), p. 86-87 [htpp://www.rae.com.pt/Lippard.pdf]

After a poster by Lawrence Weiner for Printed Matter, 1991

“That phrase is advertising a particular means with which you can go through life, it doesn’t tell you that if you don’t learn to read art you’re going to be fined, it just says: Learn to Read Art. I don’t see that as an imperative. All artists are attempting to communicate, in whatever form, and if you can learn to read that form then you can either accept it or reject it. If you can’t read it, then it doesn’t mean shit to you."
"L. W. by Marjorie Welish", Bomb Magazine, n° 54, 1996 [http://bombmagazine.org/article/1911/lawrence-weiner]

* * * *

Jean-Luc Godard dixit :
[...] Souvent, des jeunes garçons viennent me voir. Ils veulent savoir comment faire pour devenir metteur en

J.-L.G., Documents, Paris, Centre Pompidou, 2006


Gilles Deleuze dixit :

"Le mouvement du nageur ne ressemble pas au mouvement de la vague ; et précisément, les mouvements du maître-nageur que nous reproduisons sur Ie sable ne sont rien par rapport aux mouvements de la vague que nous n'apprenons à parer qu'en les saisissant pratiquement comme des signes. C'est pourquoi il est si difficile de dire comment quelqu'un apprend : il y a une familiarité pratique, innée ou acquise, avec les signes, qui fait de toute éducation quelque chose d'amoureux, mais aussi de mortel. Nous n'apprenons rien avec celui qui nous dit : « fais comme moi ». Nos seuls maîtres sont ceux qui nous disent « fais avec moi », et qui, au lieu de nous proposer des gestes à reproduire, surent émettre des signes à développer dans l'hétérogène. En d’autres termes, il n’y a pas d’idéo-motricité, mais seulement de la sensori-motricité. Quand le corps conjugue ses points remarquables avec ceux de la vague, il noue le principe d’une répétition qui n’est plus celle du Même, mais qui comprend l’Autre, qui comprend la différence, d’une vague et d’un geste à l’autre, et qui transporte cette différence dans l'espace répétitif ainsi constitué. Apprendre, c’est bien constituer cet espace de la rencontre avec des signes, où les points remarquables se reprennent les uns dans les autres, et où la répétition se forme en même temps qu’elle se déguise. Et il y a toujours des images de mort dans l’apprentissage, à la faveur de l’hétérogénéité qu’il développe, aux limites de l’espace qu’il crée" 

Différence et répétition, Paris, 1968


Rainer Ganahl
Strange Teaching


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