“Now the banal reality has become aestheticized, all reality is trans-aestheticized, and that is the very problem. Art was a form, and then it became more and more no more a form but a value, an aesthetic value, and so we come from art to aesthetics… And as art becomes aesthetics it joins with reality, it joins with the banality of reality. Because all reality becomes aesthetical, too, then it’s a total confusion between art and reality, and the result of this confusion is hyperreality. But, in this sense, there is no more radical difference between art and realism. And this is the very end of art. As form.”
Beyond the qualities of the photographs, there are the attendant questions surrounding Baudrillard’s relations with contemporary art. As Chris Kraus describes it, a ‘double-helix’ was formed between Baudrillard and what gets collectively termed as the ‘art world.’ The forceful embrace of Baudrillard’s theories and philosophy by artists and critics was something he remained wary of. For Baudrillard, art’s claim of exceptionality was dubious. Aesthetic concerns were being dispersed into every crevice of reality and this drew the function of art into question. Having exhibited his photographs within galleries and museums, he then wrote The Conspiracy of Art, a book that empties out all of the purported privilege of art and the sand that its meaning is built upon.
Gallery: Château Shatto
Text: Jean Baudrillard, The Conspiracy of Art, 2005