Why are so many artist statements, press releases or exhibition blurbs full of impenetrable jargon that tell you nothing useful or thought-provoking about the artist and their work? It seems to have become a consensus that this type of material has to be as opaque, yawn-worthy and pretentious as possible in order to appear clever and erudite.
Take the latest opus from the Transition Gallery, London . Here is how their ''Working under the system'' exhibition is described on their website: ''This mutinous crew are self aware and capable of double-dealing as they swerve back and forth between organisation and impulse. Many of the artists reclaim systems of production, only to throw the viewer off course by introducing the problematic and employing chance or error. Others defy categorisation by puncturing established processes with spontaneity and intuition.'' A tortuous and round-about way of saying in long-winded sentences what could be stated in a few, simple words: these artists use both intuition and rational thinking in their work. There.
I always believe that pompous statements are often used to mask poor arguments and even poorer work. They do the artist no justice as this type of self-indulging rethoric does not give the viewers any clever clues about the work and the artist's intention neither are they able to seduce us into wanting to know more. They also do not educate us in any way. I believe them to be a case of the emperor new clothes, where the illusion is maintained that something very very clever is being said and that if you are not ''getting it'' then shame on you. So we all nod and pretend. Simplicity and clarity combined with wit, knowledge, originality and passion within a text are not easy to achieve but this is what we should be striving for. Aimless spinning and so-called intellectual verbiage only patronises and exasperates.