‘What appeals to me is the difference between the present and what is imposed on us by memory.’
‘Do you mean that memory deeply affects our ability to judge?’
‘Or that a judgement may be distinguished on the basis of past and present?’
‘I wouldn’t go that far.’
‘The present is so diffuse, that there is a strong temptation to fall back on the past to get some sort of grip.’
‘That sounds to me like a cliché.’
‘No, its more a counsel of despair.’
‘Is the present really as diffuse as you claim?
I don’t believe it is. On the contrary, the present is a continuous movement, a light-hearted cakewalk.’
‘It can seem diffuse only to non-participants.’
‘Those who join the cakewalk know the pleasure and fun of movement.’
‘Can you quote percentages?’
‘No, but few abandon themselves to movement. There are many who ignore the past but many more who use the past to avoid having to face the present.’
‘That sounds rather vague.’
‘Take an example: every day readers put the newspaper between themselves and the world. Seemingly up to date, in fact they stand not in the present but in a timeless dimension that we call actuality.’
‘A newspaper that is two months old is just as interesting as tomorrow’s paper.’
’Do you mean that as a result the reader no longer sees the various falsifications?’
‘And becomes entangled in them?’
‘Experience and knowledge are easier to consume than to digest, so something can be labelled ‘new’ quite quickly.’
‘One experience is forgotten even before the next one is undergone.’
‘And so it seems that everyone has an opinion, everyone is informed and everyone is a critic.’
‘The law of mediocrity.’
‘Everyone the same, everyone equal.’


‘The world has never been so full up.’
‘What did you say? Full up?’
‘Everything the same, everything full, almost everywhere.’
‘Do you mean the way that Western civilisation has penetrated even the smallest villages in the jungle?’
‘No, rather I mean the confusing way events succeed each other so quickly, so that what happens seems diffuse and complex.’
‘The centre of a multiplicity of completely different events taking place within a very short time of each other?’
‘That is not essential. I mean the impossibility of disentangling events with any precision.’
‘Like the referee’s bad decision later revealed on video?’
‘What you’re talking about is the impotence of analysis.’
‘And the consequence of it – i.e. everything being brought into line.’
‘Does this take place on the basis of form alone or of content as well?’
‘It begins with form, but it wouldn’t surprise me if in time the content of everything began to look similar.’
‘Then are we finally freed from the desire to distinguish ourselves or does a gremlin keep popping up to spoil our pleasure and force us to do something about the way more and more areas are being overrun by conformism?’
‘That is a tricky problem. Everything that is thought up is immediately and unscrupulously taken over.’
‘Furious circulation is the consequence.’
‘Rather, I believe that distinguishing on the grounds of quality is an ineradicable human trait.’
‘That’s true, but with everything toeing the same line it becomes very difficult to draw distinctions based on quality.’
‘The law of mediocrity?’
‘Just so.’
‘Everyone the same, everyone equal.’
‘Can this process of bringing everything into line be separated out?’
‘I believe so. I think that any real change starts from this process.’
‘You don’t mean distinguishing by means of a simple contrast, I trust?’
‘No, although it is amusing to see the contortions people perform.’
‘Looking for the blind spot?’
‘The gap in the market.’
‘Black is followed by white, rectangular by round, hands-off production by manual skill.’
‘Yes, except that in the last case things are rather more subtle. The manual is a recurring theme that is almost always linked to authenticity.’
‘Do you mean the urge to be different by completely ignoring the past and presenting the self-made as the only genuine article?’
‘Back to earth, sowing and harvesting with one’s own hands.’
‘The artist once more retreating to a cabin in the woods in search of a primal force.’
‘Yes, in order to use his bare hands to unveil the human image for the umpteenth time.’
‘Isn’t that rather oversimplified?’
‘Well, using the human body seems to me legitimate, provided it is combined with a knowledge of what has been done with it before.’
‘Are the concepts ‘manual’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘human body’ the same for you?
‘No, you have to put it more accurately: in art the human body is merely a subject; authenticity is necessary; and manual is too often a contrived attempt to appear authentic.’
‘Does the confusion perhaps stem from the linking of manual to authentic?’
‘I think so. At the same time one might question what is left of the concept of authenticity.’
‘Does this confusion arise from a fear of being modernist?’
‘Everyone being modernist together is also a trap.’
‘Toeing the line, in other words.’
‘Everyone the same, everyone equal.’

‘The process of bringing everything into line can take place because of the need to be different.’
‘Does that need arise from a desire for real change?’
‘No. Unfortunately, being different is too often simply a matter of rejecting what has gone before.’
‘Do you mean that any change of direction is enough to be different?’
‘Going round and round in a vicious circle.’
‘Like a dog chasing its tail.’
‘Yellow is taboo, geometry has been and gone, from mass production back to handwork.’
‘Handwork seems to be a recurring theme.’
‘Based on a skill which is different if only because of its individual nature.’
‘You mean that the individual signature cannot guarantee any distinction?’
‘That’s right. You can ignore neither history nor your contemporaries.’
‘As if Michelangelo had never existed.’
‘Nor Courbet nor Broodthaers.’
‘Still, I can imagine the need to use physicality as a source of inspiration persists.’
‘Given a knowledge of the past and a present-day viewpoint that can still prove interesting.’
‘You sound rather cynical.’
‘For me there is a big difference between the individual action of an artist and the human body as a source of inspiration.’
‘Do you sometimes tire of the kind of individualism that denies history and gets no further than expressive skills?’
‘That kind of individualism is often no more than a clumsy attempt to seem authentic.’
‘Whereas the principle of expressive skill caters for the ever present desire to discover geniuses.’
‘Preferably hidden away in tiny villages far from the official art world.’
‘Does that increase the authenticity?’
‘I think it’s a simple, naive way of being different.’
‘And the result?’
‘Everyone the same, everyone equal.’