fine print

An Introduction to Destruction

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As a theme, destruction traces a long line through art history; a concept and reality that has allowed artists to consider the cultural, political and social issues faced over centuries. As an artistic process, however, it is more recent, gaining momentum in the post-war years of the 20th century. Driven at first by artists who had witnessed devastation on a grand scale, destruction as a method became a form of protest, of rebellion and resistance, and ultimately a perfectly distilled act of creation.

Whether breaking something down or erasing from existence, destruction is a complex gesture. An essential part of recreation and renewal, it can be violent, cathartic, a beginning, an end. Works of art affected by the contentious act of destruction balance on a knife-edge of existence – where are the limits of destruction and creation? What can be said of works that no longer have physical presence as a result of it, whether deliberate or accidental? The writers of fine print’s twelfth issue pick apart the conceptual and symbolic approaches that artists use to address the potential of destruction.

Eleanor Amor (SA), Anna Dunnill (VIC), Darby Hudson (VIC), Kylie Maslen (SA), Ella Mudie (NSW), Elyas Alavi (SA), Becca Freezer (SA) and Fulvia Mantelli (SA) begin the conversation.