Colonial Surfer - The ReSearch is a project about the contemporary globalized world and power structures within the surf industry and its realm. Surfing is not just a sport but also culture, producer and distributor. In current discussions you hear about the post-colonial but the situation today is better described as neo-colonial. Surfers do travel a lot and sometimes to places unknown to other tourists. The way surfers behave and represent themselves in the adventures search of perfect waves has a lot in common with ancient colonizers and their roles. To surf maintain and conserve already existing structures. History.
Editor: Kristoffer Svenberg
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Monday, August 19, 2019
Why is Gagosian doing an exhibition with #fletcherDNA as the hashtag and the overall title: The Fletcher Family – A Lifetime in Surf? The exhibition is on Madison Avenue in New York. Vice Magazine has been writing this about the skateboarder Greyson Fletcher who is the youngest guy in the family: ”Greyson is more than just a skater, he´s the fourth generation of a bloodline that has produced some of the most influential surfers ever. ” I´m questioning. What does this have to do with art at all? Is this art?; Four generations of great surfers in a family.
You need to be in a situation that allows you to spend a lot of time surfing waves instead of doing other things to become a professional surfer. I dare to say that being a surfer is a matter of class. And I would say that the surf scene is taking place in similar upper-class environments like golf, sailing, and art.
You can make art out of surfing as a subject or material. You can do art out of any material and subject, but to be a great surfer is about being a great surfer. To say that it´s the same thing as being a great artist is naive.
The practice of the artist . . . is no different than that of the surfer, who inscribes his or her self in the ocean—a bigger canvas could not be engaged, defining their humanity in the most personal way, using themselves to draw their lifelines through the massive fleeting freedom of that power. The power and majesty of the sea—Herbie shared that with me and with my family as well as his own.
Wave surfing is originally a Polynesian sport and tradition with its first historical beginning in Hawaii. It’s being told that Hawaiians themselves mainly described and focused on surfing as an art form integrated into their culture. In addition, some who tell the story says that the first and most surfers were women. When missionaries from Scotland and Germany arrived in Hawaii in 1821, they banned and downplayed a number of Polynesian traditions and cultural practices. This also included wave surfing. The number of active surfers were limited to very few and surfing as an art form was about to completely die out.
Surfing as a cultural phenomenon back then was something different from how it is today. In the contemporary situation surfing is more mainstream, an ideal and something commercial more globally. To say that surfing is automatically art within the contemporary art-scene is conservative.
A Lifetime in surf is a celebration of a book with the same title about the Fletcher family. It is written by Dibi Fletcher, and with no further explanation is Dibi Fletcher being called the matriarch of surfing´s first family by her Husband Herbie and media. Mentioned about the book is also surfing as a counterculture from 1950s until today. How surfing has the possibility of both being viewed upon as counterculture and mainstream culture at the same time is interesting and something of a mystery. No matter how popular surfing is surfers consider themselves alternative and counterculture. I haven't read the book yet but will do soon.
Surfing is great fun and amazing! But it is not art just like that. And it’s not about bloodlines or DNA.