There is an art magazine that I find shockingly stupid and it is called ART LICKS (and it costs £8). As all things stupid, it reproduces very quickly and now its editor (H Willats) hosts the Art Licks Weekend which, according to her, is ‘a refreshing representation of an alternative that is equally as important (as Frieze) but often unrecognised’. Of course, these projects are funded by the Arts Council and The Henry Moore Foundation. But let me tell you what I really dislike about these projects…the jargon!


This magazine is the outcome of the artistic education system in the UK which is based on the articulation of a jargon to justify their work while despising the toils of the manufacturing process that all visual object demands. In other words, these are lazy (more or less) rich kids that found in art a way to look cool (even when they are ugly) and not to have to do much (while telling everybody all the time that they are doing a lot). Let’s go the first example.


On page 17 there is an interview to ‘artist’ Mark Barker which is printed on cerulean (dark blue) which makes me feel that this might be a sort of joke because it is truly difficult to read. The interviewer is Ian Giles and opens the publicly funded interview saying:

‘I sat down here at this table two hours ago to write about Mark Baker’s work. I am now sitting in the dark with only the white light of my laptop illuminating the space. The record I put on has long since finished and all i can hear is the needle as it cracks and grinds over the empty black vinyl. I should get up and turn it over but the scene that surrounds me seems fitting. There is a tension in the space’. I mean…. Ian…come on! Try a little less hard or you are going to crack.

Mark Barker’s work are videos with people looking stressed. That’s it. But he talks about his work using a very specific jargon in the context of a seriousness that he never ends up justifying. He says: ‘The videos negation of any reference to a particular time of day allows the characters to seem lost in the perpetual activities they undertake…My aim was to construct an atmosphere that suggests the space between the two bodies is charged with both erotic and violent potential’. Why? Because they are not having sex..yet?


Then he says: ‘I think it is hard to define what is natural and what is artificial as the environment and the actions are both constructed in reality: the camera records what is actually there’. Right…so? Then he goes on by saying: ‘I am fascinated by the slippery space between performed action and the drop of pose: a twich, a stretch, a yawn’. Let me rewind… Did he say that he is fascinated by the slippery space between the performed action and the drop of pose? Does he has anything and I mean, say at all?

I have the impression that this guy does NOT have anything to say and has found a group of friends who are sponsored by the state to get busy gathering other people who have nothing to say at all. I think that the problem starts in an education industry that is teaching them a language (jargon?) without teaching them how to think. Everything seems justificatory and fast track.  I am starting to think that the artistic education system should be radically altered. Just a thought.