In this article, the author concentrates on the importance of self-construction when assessing art. Ducret delves into the importance of what he terms as ‘genetic structuralism’, this is used to study the power struggles within artists as they attempt to come up with more hegemony in their work, The forces of money as well as politics are important social agents that have to be studied intensely, otherwise the artist will never free him/herself from the shackles of mediocrity and compromise.
Ducret delves into the problem of artistic independence and rebellion when he discusses the ‘Sprayer of Geneva’. Although the artists refused to compromise with his art, the authorities cracked down on him and did not let him continue in his work that was seen as anti-social and abusive apart from polluting the environment. The methodical and detailed reaction from the authorities shows that the sprayer had considerable effect on the mind-set of those who controlled the city’s political and social life.
The sprayer elicited various comments, especially on the quality of his art that was compared to the graffiti from Roman times and other past historical periods. His power as an agent calling for social change is undeniable and he definitely caused quite a stir, undoubtedly his main aim was just that. His arrest and eventual imprisonment shows that his cult status was powerless against authoritarian might but ironically, his work ended up in photographic exhibitions and also as motifs on top fashion accessory brands, you could say that he turned full circle and was accepted as part of mainstream culture. The story of the Swiss sculptor Vincenzo has similar traits and teaches us a lot of things about the changing face of art.
André Ducret: THE ARTIST AT WORK: THE SELF-CONSTRUCTION OF VALUE?