FROM ‘SOCIAL PARASITE’ TO ‘FAMOUS SAPPER’. THE ART OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
In the essay, there are two planes which collide: one concerning artistic practice of recent years considered as ‘parasitic’ in art (see: the symposium in Amiens in 2006), the second – de-alienating function of art as interpreted by Laurent Marissal, whose book (‘Pinxit: Painting from 1997 to 2003’ Rennes, Éditions Incertain Sens, 2005) is under consideration here. Their aim is to link the issues which emerge from the clash with political and intellectual history in order to bet-ter grasp their meaning and relevance. In the first part of the essay, the notion of parasitism is interpreted through the prism of sinister, sometimes murderous consequences of ‘social parasite’ – the ideas by the Nazis and the Soviets. It is confronted with references to parasitism in political economy (Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Stanislav Andreski). It turns out then that ‘social parasite’ is not a idea, but an inconsistent set of contradictory meanings, which depend on the ideological point of view. In the second part, starting from the socio-economic context of the artist’s work, as well as the political implications of the use of the term ‘parasite’ in the context of art, the analysis of the artistic practice by Laurent Marissal leads to the historical reconstruction of the concept of alien-ation and ways of philosophical understanding of art as de-alienating experience. The recon-struction combines several philosophical traditions, including the following traditions: the writ-ers of the Enlightenment (Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Maxime de Robespierre, Frie-drich Schiller), the philosophers of anarchism (Max Stirner, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakounine, Leo Tolstoy), but also in a bit more surprising way, Karl Marx and Umberto Eco, whose theory of open work is in fact the answer to the question of alienation in the sense de-fined by Marx. Issues emerging from these analyzes combine both aesthetic and political consequences: civil disobedience (when freedom of speech leads artists to the edge of legality: Krzysztof Wodiczko, Alfredo Jaar, Francis Alÿs, Gianni Motti, Pierre Huyghe, clido Mereiles, etc.), de-alienation of the function of art (aesthetic education by Schiller and/or political action – including in art – according to Marx’s theory?), the concept of time in the experience of alienation, especially in the case of artists whose paid work does not coincide with artistic activities (Witold Gom-browicz and other writer wrote about this problem), and finally the theory of property (based on the use or the possession ?, not-be-alienated property based on the right of the artist or to the unlimited right to own?). French term ‘jouissance’, having both the sense of the legal and exis-tential, meaning both ‘right to use’ and ‘pleasure’ and even ‘orgasm’, is the subject of a fascinat-ing analysis by Diderot in ‘Encyclopedia’. In 1997, Laurent Marissal was employed as a staff member to watch the collection of paintings at the Museum of Gustav Moreau; a situation typical for young artists, because Marissal just graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. It is in this context he developed his idea and practice of art as a way of recovering the time sold to his employer, and he used unions as the instrument of that practice. In 2003, he resigned, and in 2005, he publishes ‘Pinxit: Paintings from 1997 to 2003’, as the document – story and expression of artistic experience, where art and work merge with life.