E. Borkowska (red.), "In the space of arts : interdyscyplinarity, idenity and (post)modernity" (S. 196-220). Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
In 1967, after a couple of apprenticeship years as a sculptor using polyester resin, fiberglass and similar kinds of materials, Bruce Nauman comes up with a completely new type of work - a spiral neon sign proclaiming "The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths". What can one do with such a sentence? On the one hand, it is quite ridiculous, a mockery of the 19th century "religion of art" and all that goes with it, both aesthetically and socially. On the other, the artist who is serious about what he does (which may just as well include self-deprecating or self-mocking gestures) has somehow to believe in it, because there is no point in being an artist if one does not feel that art can be of import for the lives of other people. Therefore a sentence as the above puts the mind on edge - it simultaneously is and is not true. It also sparks off a potentially infinite series of questions: If such a statement about the role of the artist is absurd, what does it mean to be an artist? If he does not reveal mystic truths, what is he supposed to do? And so on, and so forth.