Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bishop Brennan and the percieved historocity of objects.

There are things in this world, important historical artifacts.

Much of the most valuable art in the world is valued, well..y'know.. not as 'Art' but actually as historical artifacts.

Their historocity, the idea that they were made by the actual hand of perceived genius is the understood basis for the value of, say 'Mona Lisa' as opposed to a perfect forgery of the Mona Lisa.

I dunno about this. I mean in a way, it's highly illogical captain.

I reckon whatever tangible experience that we actually get from our proximity to the actual brush-strokes of Picasso or whoever is debatable, surely.

If there was any real significant difference between the experience of looking at a perfect fake Warhol/Picasso/Constable and looking at an actual one then we wouldn't have either art-fakers* (they'd never fool anyone) or art-experts (to catch them out).

As Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries was wont to sing at one time: "It's in your heeeead in your hehehhhheeeeadd". It's that thing that we think is there but really aint.

If, for whatever reason, I decided to sell somebody my kitchen table, and if we imagine that the night before the removers came for it, it was stolen and replaced by an exact replica.

The removers take away the 'faux' table and no-one is the wiser.

Subsequently, history develops and it turns out that a very famous world-changing song was written on that table (by a guest at the height of their creative powers).

The table becomes extremely valuable as the very table that "Who put the boop on ma best brown boots" was composed upon, the person who bought it from me is able to auction it off for a bajillion eurodollah, it ends up in a museum.

I die, the person I sold it to dies, and then someone comes out of the woodwork to claim his grandfather was an eccentric who liked to steal things from people and replace them with exact replicas.

This grandson claims that he has the actual 'who put the boop' table. His claims are meaningless. Without a receipt, there is nothing to prove his story and so his table is worthless. The other table is priceless. Value is attached to it really just because that's the table that people, who cannot possibly 'know', have decided to believe in.

Up until the point that it can be proven otherwise people are in no way discontent with the fake. As soon as they are given this knowledge, they can no longer enjoy the object.


Which brings me along to the point of Hitlers underpants.

Unless you are an evil pro-nazi scientist who needs access to his stained underpants (so that you can clone the great Shicklegruber from his origonal stain-cells), Hitlers' underpants have no more actual value than any other very old pair of underpants made by the same company and worn by another man during the same era.

However, in terms of antiques, if you have a pair of what were the Fuhrers 'actual jocks' and the documentation to back it up, there are people in this world who will pay you handsomely for them.

As is true of Hitlers' underpants is true of the relics of St.Van Gogh, Matisse, Dali and whoever. The art we value, we value as relics, markers, signposts in the development of our own culture/aesthetics perhaps,-
Its a strange kind of social ritual that we have and call Art when you think about it.

In my euro-million lottery winning dreams I don't want art and I don't want sports cars, I would happily spend whatever it took though to purchase something that I know exists and regard personally as a lost national treasure, I speak of the really giant photo of Father Ted kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse.

This has to be somewhere... I think it should be purchased for the nation.
It's an effective cultural signpost of our era, wherever it is, can we have it please?

As Indiana Jones used to say: "it belongs in a MUSEUM"

(It or an exact replica, obviously.)


  1. Oddly enough, the train of thought behind "der fuhrer's stained cacapants" prompted Orson Welles to make a very interesting biopic about art forger Elmyr de Hory, Welles provides a complex essay on the nature of art, the links between illusion, life, forgery and artifice.


    Peace and Hope


  2. 'F for Ffffferrry hinterestingk'

    Pater Corvus, you're full of it as usual -( interesting and fascinating information , that is).
    I was aware of the semi-tragic tale of Elmyr deHory and the connection with Howard Hughes' biography, but I hadn't watched this strange eccentric documentary/mockumentary/fauxcumentary/art fillum until you pointed me to it,- and it is a strange and loverly old gem to be sure to be sure.

    A bit toe-curly in it's objectifying obsession with 'the babe' in the beginning for meself nowadays maybe, but that lovely sonorous reflection, by the great 'Awesome Wellie' himself, as he contemplates the cathedral/life/art/authorship/meaning/immortality was just very a special moment altogether.

    And a bit of Kipling on Art too..sure where would you get it?