Friday 20th November 2015
Art movements are a difficult thing to pin down. When they're new and exciting, almost nobody has ever heard of them, but that's also when they tend to be the most disruptive. That's disruptive in the sense of 'challenging the status quo' rather than something negative, in the sense that a disruptive technology succeeds by solving a problem more effectively than the existing methods do. So it's always an interesting thing to see an art movement taking shape, to watch it's progress from nascent idea to full-fledged movement - for, as is more often the case, they tend to wind up slinking back to the art school dorm room never to see the light of day again.
This latest emerging movement is known as Excessivism, and it is truly a millennial movement in all senses of the word. Formally the brainchild of contemporary American artist Kaloust Guedel, it styles itself a commentary on the rampant excesses of commercialism and materialism that permeates American culture, which is admittedly not exactly a new idea. It has a manifesto, as any good art movement would, as well as a slew of artists who are already working in the style.
Easily the most recognizable name on the list is Ai Weiwei, it's not immediately apparent if he has agreed to be part of this movement or if he's even aware of its existence. It would certainly be a great help to the aesthetic credibility of the movement, but at the same time it's somehow a bit damaging to include an established artist in a new movement they didn't found.
The manifesto starts out in a typically dense fashion: "Excessive use of resources in magnified state, by which one expresses: by means of two, or three dimensional visual-creations, written, or pronounce words, or in any other manner. As a reflection, examination, or investigation of the capitalist system, exempt of aesthetical, legal, commercial, ethical, or moral considerations."
Whether or not it's intended ironically or not, the density of the language is excessive in and of itself. The pieces, however, vary widely in terms of their general aesthetic appeal. Some are quite beautiful in their own way, and some are merely messy to the point of repulsiveness. To read the full manifesto and see the full list of artists who are working in the style, be sure to check out the website at excessivism.com.
Posted on November 20th 2015 on 03:50am