Ideally, the artists should have an important position in our society as free and independent minds that can produce vital reflections about sociopolitical conditions of the time we live in. Unfortunately many times artists’ critical and important reflections are being used or misused for other purposes such as promotion of products, gentrification, and cultural colonialism. In that case, the unique role of the artist, as the one independently and critically reflecting our society, becomes a simplified and bounded function with a purpose and task dictated by others. The only way the artist can avoid that his/ her role becomes a function is by constantly questioning the structures his or her art is being presented within. Biennales and big-scale exhibitions like Documenta should, as the most influential contemporary art structures, be a natural object for investigation.
Documenta is considered to be a Vatican of contemporary art today, carried by a belief in the critical potential of art. Documenta promotes itself as the optimal art platform for critical thinking and political postures, which is why decision makers and intelligentsia of the art world, pilgrimage to Documenta in search of latest tendencies. Documenta and other big art events such as Venice Biennale have thus an enormous international impact and a great power to influence the public opinion. This influence should be evaluated by participating artists as well as the audience, who should not only absorb the messages communicated to them through the curatorial strategies, without being skeptical about their motivation. They should not fall asleep but be critical and constantly question the structure.
A show labeled as “critic show” can give the public a feeling of being critical, but it can, at the same time, be drawing the public attention away from big and serious issues that authorities don’t want to create critic around. There could be a diversion taking place in the curatorial choose.
A delay in contemporary art could also be seen as a diversion strategy. Even though we believe that the contemporary artists should react on the important issues and emergencies of today’s world, we are not giving the artists appropriate platforms for immediate expression and impact in time. The artists cannot show art connected with the pulsing and unpredictable present, since all the exhibited artworks have to be defined, produced, and explained in advance. Either because of the practical and curatorial planning or because of a wish to control and have a possibility to censure, most of the contemporary exhibitions are from the beginning in delay.
A “critic show” can thus be a setting for fake criticism that gives us an illusion of being critique and having the freedom of thinking when we, in reality, are directed in a certain direction controlled by external forces and often interests of economic or political nature.
This fake criticism within the contemporary art today could be the source of apathy in our society. If the lack of real concern or interest in making a change infiltrates the art community, and what we consider to be the avant-garde force in our society falls asleep, we might risk that our world takes a direction of narrow-minded and almost totalitarian thinking.