Monty Cantsin? Amen! Mässav neoist
EKKM / Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn
a mass of toys watching a movie of the execution and resurrection of the artist
How do I approach this exhibition? I could write about how Istvan Kantor has created this artist figure Monty Cantsin, or about Monty Cantsin and his artist network the Neoists. I could also write about how the artwork all seems to aim to create a portrait Monty Cantsin. Or i could approach it on how he (Istvan Kantor or Monty Cantsin - I am not sure who) has picked or created the works for exactly this place.
I find it difficult to just look at the works without relating them to the artist (or the artist created by the artist). Monty Cantsin is apparently created with a purpose to provoke. What does really provoke us these days? Do we even lift our eyebrows when seeing a skull, communism symbols, anarchism, uglyness or destruction? He tries to provoke through flashing videos, smearing blood on art museum walls, and by coarse painted slogans against the established art world.
Slogans on the poster of the last exhibiton at EKKM - the Köler Price
The life and works of Monty Cantsin seems to be a protest against art museums. It is easy to be against something, quite more difficult to suggest a better solution. I am not sure if he wants to get rid of art museums, or radically reform them, and what the alternative or new values should be. I am also not sure what he sees as the problem with art museums. He considers art museums as prisons. For the art, for the artists or for the visitors? And is the building or the institution the problem? What will be the alternative then? Even if he protests, his work is on display in an art museum. When he expresses uncomfortableness with that, is that ok?
Video of the artist throwing blood(?) on the wall in an art museum, and then being thrown out by the guards
Irony and protest against everything may at some point end up as an irony on or protest against yourself.
various installations, included redesigned posters from one of his earlier exhibitions
It is brave of curator KIWA and the art institution EKKM/Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia to invite Istvan Kantor, they could never know what he would be up to. But there will be limits to what he really can do, to be able to continue to be an artist. You can say and do almost everything, but there are limits to what you really can do. If he goes too far he would either not be taken seriously or being expelled from the art scene.
The movement created by Istvan Kantor/Monty Cantsin is called The Neoists. The name suggests something new, but I am not sure what. It is the new punk, or the new anarchy, or is it just an anachronism? Somehow it would be interesting to see what would happen if his protests led to a change, and what would then happen, not least what would happen to Monty Cantsin.
I understand I am getting lost in my own train of thoughts here, losing the focus on the art displayed. In fact the exhibition is entertaining, surprising and overwhelming. To be honest, I am more amused than provoked. I show you some more impressions: