Recent years have seen a surge of renewed interest in Andy Warhol's work, including exhibitions, publications, colloquia etc. Surprisingly, however, the critics and art historians’ analyses and commentaries show what a hard time we still have today pinning down Warhol’s intentions. Needless to say, one reason why is the ambiguous attitude of the public persona he cannily forged for himself. So what is striking is that his artistic production has preserved its remarkable capacity to elude critical exegesis. This particular difficulty is explored in the fourth issue of (SIC) magazine by considering questions and even critiques that Warhol's work, in turn, levels at the various critical, historical and institutional commentaries that purport to guarantee its intelligibility.
Throughout this issue of (SIC), Léon De Cuyper’s art intervention replays the strategy of Warhol’s a, A Novel (1968). The latter is a word-for-word transcription of 24 hours of Warhol’s audiotape recordings of the urban peregrinations of the actor Ondine, one of the Warhol Superstars. The exhausted reader follows the drug-induced tribulations of this latter-day Ulysses on speed in the demimonde of 1960s New York. De Cuyper applies this unusual protocol to a handful of idle urbanites adrift at sea. Far from belaboring or wearing out the protocol, his approach reaffirms its full critical potential. For while De Cuyper initially seems intent on sticking as closely as possible to the topic addressed here by attaching Warhol to the order of the spoken word in which he immerses him, this very approach seems to undercut any possibility of making out such a topic. By conflating Warhol’s artistic and critical sides to the point of rendering them inextricable, De Cuyper chips away at the distinct categories of practice and theory, image and text, that form the backdrop for the formulation of these questions. It is as though this intervention enabled Warhol even now to thwart the editorial framework proposed to him.
Editor: Anaël Lejeune
Essays by Alain Cueff, Trevor Fairbrother, Isabelle Graw, Anaël Lejeune and Klaus Speidel
Art intervention by Léon De Cuyper
Published in 2012
11 x 18 cm