"Retrospectives," in the world of art, often are nothing but attempts to recycle old material, often for commercial reasons. Cezanne is important as an artist; Cezanne exhibitions are pulling large crowds and therefore prove profitable. Of course, it is a good thing if we are able to see originals. But why do we want to see this rather than that original work, why the craze to see certain shows, why the long queues in front of certain museums? It has a lot to do with what is being pushed, by the media, and that means, in many cases, not only and not even mainly, the art media.
This retrospective which centers on Yugoslav cinema of the late 1960s and early 70s, on a Mexican film made it 1973, and on experimental films by West German and British filmmakers from more or less the same period, goes against the grain. There is no material and thus, commercial interest involved. There is an interest, however, to let a public rediscover something that was vital, in what was a vital period of European if not world history.
I'm talking about 1968, what preceded it and what followed it, timewise. About the spirit of the time, its social eruptions that culminated in the anti-war movement in the US, the decolonization of Angola, Guinea-Bissao, and Mozambique, the attempted (and then partially aborted) democratization of Spain and Portugal, the overthrow of the military junta in Greece, the straw fires of emancipation in Chile, Argentine, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.
Art in this period - a period that
began in the early or mid 60s, I think) was especially vital, more provocative
than ever, as far as the post-1949 period goes....
A debate about the relevance of
the works dealt with here might be a good think. If it should unfold, it
might be a good idea to document it in one of the next issues of ART IN