Art Lies, Volume 3, October-November 1994

Forecasting Spring 1995
Peter Doroshenko

Just ten years ago black lines, shape edges, metallic
and tubular structures asserted themselves as the de-
clared geometric figures of design. The future
seemed to be traced by advertising executives in a
frenetic race for success, in the promotion of prod-
ucts capable of doing a maximum amount of things
in a minimum amount of time. The express era be-
gan, in fun and fluorescent colors. Powdered meals
for speedy slimming, UV beds for artificial tanning,
microwaves for heating up that which we no longer
had time to cook, pocket encyclopedias and concise
guides to art for absorbing in the space of an evening
the essence of a work, of history, of a country.
Then what is happening today? What are we saving
time for? Hordes of joggers have given way to
crowds devoted to religion, music and health, after
they worshipped sports and business. The Chronicle
and Post no longer talk of executive stress, but of
frameworks that crack under the accumulated pres-
sure: the economic, social and moral fiber slackens,
the right stuff frays at the edges, structures become
shabby, worn away but the corrosion of corruption.
Drugs, insider trading, scandals of all sorts continue
to erode the accepted models of success. As the
prosecution of cash king has begun, the future is no
longer what it was.
Fashion is perhaps the best metaphor for this change:
yesterday it was compressed, stretched, molded, to-
day the body floats in more ancillary forms: to dis-
appear in order to be. Irregularity is a must. Hero-
ized, the everyday is tinted in do-it-yourself colors:
damaged, wrinkled, whitened, fringed, dirtied, pre-
maturely aged. I love well-pressed white linen and I
love clothes that retain traces of life, explains Martin
Margiela, the cantor of recuperation, the guru critic
of after-fashion. This trend is strong enough for the
New York Times to consecrate its weekly fashion
page to such lovely shreds. Fashion is torn, in many
ways and on many levels. For youth this means that
even new items must have an already worn look
about them, as if the time that society doesn't give
them can be found artificially in clothes that seem to
have lived. Polluted nature, streets strewn with litter,
indicate the wasteland color and material trends to

come. Are we headed towards a new urban arte
povera?
We are living in an epoch of great change, of tem-
poral disorder, prey to all paradoxes. Never has
youth been so compulsory. Plastic surgeons have
stolen every last shred of influence from couturiers.
One must look ten years younger than one's age.
And yet there is a schism: we see it in certain U.S.
magazines, in certain advertising campaigns, and
even in Hollywood, where the average age of today's
box-office stars is thirty-five. During the last men-
swear shows in Paris the models were no longer
golden boys, but men beautified by time and wrinkles
of wisdom. A sensitivity that is becoming less visu-
ally oriented and more tactile renews our interest in
the marks of time, in surfaces that call for hands-on
contact. All the senses merge: irregular fabrics with
a stony touch, silks soft as a baby's skin.
Does this mean Europe has taken revenge on the
United States, the land of images? The Old World is
perhaps now finding the strength to reach the very
source of its collective memory, to find again forgot-
ten materials and thoughts that do not come from
computerized concepts that are lifeless and without
fluidity and flexibility. If the palettes are organized
in terms of sensations, the colors superpose them-
selves, one over the over. The stroke of a white
brush on raw linen, a slashed effect generalizing the
dripping technique inspired by action painting. The
image will become a tension. Forty years later, the
image has certainly become gestural. Color spews,
squirts, ripples, wrinkles and oozes, determining
forms to come. Make way for disorder, for trial and
error, for premeditated mistakes.
There is in this obsessive research of the past a ques-
tioning of death, a concern justified by the accelera-
tion of rhythms. And it is perhaps in rending, in rust-
ing, in bleaching, in beating, that contemporary man
who finds the stuff of his rebellion, the way to de-
nounce the terrible electronic monster he has created.
A world of instantaneity, of synthetic images and
simultaneous transmissions confuses real time, the
time of democracy, which is a time of reflection, of
delays. A renewal of dandyism? At the time of the

French Revolution, the extravagances of the Direc-
toire knew how to impose their codes: they recog-
nized the elegance of a man by the number of pleats

17A-

Huerta, Benito; Ballou, Chris & Loftus, Kelley. Art Lies, Volume 3, October-November 1994. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228036/. Accessed October 20, 2014.