Currently making the Internet rounds is artist Ryan Trecartin’s IMG MGMT-like essay for DIS Magazine — a detailed set of instructions and images that went into the creation of his fashion spread at W Magazine. Perhaps not surprisingly, the inside look at Trecartin’s process has received far more facebook views and tweets than the spread itself.
The piece reminds me of James Elkin’s “How To Look at a Mondrian“, published this October in The Huffington Post, which similarly brought in a boatload of tweets and facebook shares. According to Elkin’s, his article aims to reveal “how we see the world”, through examining the process of reproducing paint application. The text is purely mechanical in nature, like that of Trecartin, with the unwritten assumption that a reader would come to understand Mondrain paintings better by reading about how to reproduce them.
While Elkins does a pretty good job of explaining why the paint application of Mondrian is skillful — it’s careful and achieves luminosity — the trouble with his essay is that not many other conclusions are drawn. Elkins tells us only that Mondrian’s paintings are “painterly” and meant to be seen from a distance. The first conclusion is a stretch, the second we already knew.
There’s probably more to take home from Trecartin’s instruction set, if for no other reason than it comes from the artist himself. No reflection occurs within the text, just images and objectives. It’s basically an answer key to his work. A few examples:
BODY MAKE UP: I want Ashland’s Body to very extreme contour makeup work. So that his muscles look Customized…(his skin and muscles are on the same level of hyper maintenance as his hair).
In post remove the Ring and Finger on Both Hands. To look like Choice Single Culture. &fuck the album.
Each brace will be attached to a 3D Icon/App Object. The brace holds this object/button in suspension between teeth, never touching any material.
Theres a Tradition in New Orleans where people pin money to the shoulder of a birthday. I want to Pin Ashland with 3 credit Card substitutions.
To read the full piece click here.