The term ‘material’, referring to culture, appeared for the first time during the nineteenth century. Objects, including the distinction between object, thing, artefact and work, have been the subject of investigation for many anthropologists who, since the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, have been reflecting on man’s ability to turn materials into utensils. Human capacity for the study of the different materials, their resistance, flexibility, hardness, elasticity, transparency, brightness and colour, and of almost anything that can have a practical or ornamental utility, has come to fascinate an incipient science of the human.
Let us imagine a work of art that completely reverses our ideas about matter and its culture. A work that, in assuming a political vision of the real, avoids representing it. A work that takes a different form and is able to speak a different language every time you encounter it. From sound to sculpture, installation or performance, video or even documentation, all depends on the question art faces. This is the work of Natascha Sadr Haghighian. It studies how we force things to challenge the world we are living in and is interested in how we relentlessly seek change. Her multiform and eloquent praxis is based on a continuous research into the paradoxes that help us to understand experience, language, relationality and politics today.
This article was originally published in the March 2013 issue.