Saturday, January 26, 2008



Exegism: /ˌɛksɪˈdʒisɪs/ Pronunciation Key - Pronunciation [ek-si-jiz-uh m]

A movement in art that equates the exegesis of an image or object to the work of art.

Exegism is a coined term; its root is the Gk exégésis an interpretation, explanation

The need for Exegism will become clearer as its theoretical underpinnings are worked out in what follows. Suffice it to say that Exegism does not wish to pass into dogma since it has arisen in part from the need to eschew the kind of ideological extremism that is pervasive in the art world. Exegism is dualistic and is therefore a paradigm shift from the monistic conception of art. It also recognizes sustainability as an important guiding principle, the implications and assumptions of which are clarified in the Handbook.

We begin here with a working model for Exegism which we may later fine tune. For the moment these conditions are laid down as:
-the item
-an exegetical critical statement that mediates the item

The Exegesis and the Item are together considered the Work.

Markers accompanying the work include
-identifying number (if assigned)
-signature (if the author wishes to be identified)
-title (if as such determined)
-a price

Text and art are both referential and Exegism itself is referential; Exegism 1, 2 and 3 and their sub-parts frequently refer to each other while evoking the items presented. The footnotes should be seen more as parenthetical comments (which also abound) than as didactic references. While the idea of art as text or text as art is not new, Exegism turns the orthodox relationship between art and text on its head (and sometimes on its heels, belly, ass or toes) thus confronting established orders both within the individual (be it viewer, reader, participant in the art discourse) and without (the “real” world, the “art” world, the zones where those overlap if they are indeed distinct). This proposed show and Exegism are both made possible in part by the methods of text including fiction though they are by no means restricted to these methods.

A word about this introduction

While this introduction attempts to very briefly lay down the basic ideas behind Exegism, the works themselves (Exegism 1, 2, & 3) are indispensable for developing a better understanding of the concept since they often serve to deepen our understanding of the method and inner workings of Exegism in addition to providing an exegesis of the work. The paradigm shift from monistic to dualistic implied in Exegism is best understood after ideas involving Exegism are culled out and are therefore addressed in the Handbook. In the common parlance of today, Exegism is both art and meta-art. The Handbook at the end clarifies some of the questions more likely to arise in the reader’s mind. The Schema (signed and dated) which originally served in an informal discussion to illuminate some sticky issues serves both as a diary of the Exegism movement and as an epistemological record.

A word about PRAXIS

The artist who breaks into the international scene with Exegism circumvents the procedures and bureaucratic formalities of the art world by submitting the proposal for this show—that instantaneously morphs into a new chapter in the History of Art—outside of the systems established to vet artists (be they institutions, juried exhibitions, degrees in fine arts or publications) in the form that he chooses. This proposal for the exhibition is submitted to the gallery as a text and arrives much in the same way at the gallery as a publisher might receive a manuscript from an anonymous author. Though art might be exegized as text and text can be inverted as art the presentation of Exegism, including this document, can go beyond the methods typical for such presentation in text. In other words Exegism stands independent of the methods of text even as it uses them. This proposal is therefore also submitted to art critics, the worldwide web, the art world’s mediators, enablers, and writers, gallerists (not necessarily the same ones receiving the proposal for the show), artists (not necessarily those involved with or endorsing Exegism in any way), the art world’s collectors (not necessarily those collecting Exegistic œuvres), curators (not necessarily those curating Exegistic shows in the future), museums calling for submissions (not necessarily as a submission for the call), academics (not necessarily…) etc.

Accompanying items are presented in appendices in the format deemed by the artist without regard to the usual stipulations laid down by the establishment. The pieces can be viewed in person by those who express further interest. While this methodology might change in the future, like any artist experimenting with new forms the artist practicing Exegism retains all rights to experimentation and to working out techniques that are best suited to the purposes of this movement. That includes, in the case of Exegism, the methods of exegeses, and the treatment of text. This monograph for instance very much invites dialog and reader participation.