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    I took my kids to see Zombieland the other day. (Because yes, I am an awesome mother.) It was a highly enjoyable experience, more than any of us had anticipated, honestly, and chief among the many excellent moments was the scene in which the four nonzombies who are our heroes realize the rules of quotidian life no longer pertain and lay waste to a souvenir shop, smashing and crushing and pulverising all the cheap tat that stocks the shop’s shelves. It is an exhilarating moment, for sure, because transgression so often is, and transgression that involves destruction? Ding ding ding! We have a winner, folks!

    That being said, I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to you that I love it when visual art suggests violent movement. Man, there is just something so compelling about smashworld — and its appeal goes well beyond the thrill of transgression (though I would never downplay the power of that). There’s a contrapuntal reality at play in this kind of art that’s just delicious, because underlying the big booming crash of it there is a beautiful sad keening to it too. I like that kind of oppositional stuff, that layering of unlike attributes. I like the yin and the yang, the bitter and the sweet, always. Naturally, too, I like how much this kind of art recognizes the transience of things, the ahness of things, the mono no awareness of things.

    And the thought occurs to me that maybe in some way all art either butts head or holds hands with (wheeee! more contradiction!) mono no aware. Maybe all art is made in an attempt to stop the clock, to freeze in time a feeling or thought or emotion, to counteract the truth that — fossil record be damned — in the end there is only mutability, impermanence. Time pushes, hard, but sometimes we push back, and I like art that pushes back, a lot. I like it almost as much as I like the deep velvety melancholia, the deep shivery ache, of the transience of things. And I like Christian Tedeschi’s altered shopping carts very much indeed because in them I find both the push and the shiver. I like Lee Mawdsley’s photographs for the same reason, and Martin Klimas’s too. Both photographers record the moment of familiar objects being transformed by violence, catching those objects when their original forms are recognizable and yet they are clearly and unstoppably on the way to becoming something else. It is maybe a bit like when the spirit stops animating a living creature, the profound change that occurs in the moment when the lights go out.

    It’s big, this art, even as it makes little tiny smashy pieces happen.

    Briac Leprêtre, La Chapelle des Calvairiennes, 2008:

    Overheating by Romain laurent, via www.romain-laurent
    Overheating by Romain Laurent
    Via Romain Laurent
    Photograph by Martin Klimas
    Via Martin Klimas
    Explosion via Jane Stockdale
    Explosion by Jane Stockdale
    Via Jane Stockdale
    Spacecraft by Christian Tedeschi
    Via TelegraphArts' photostream on flickr
    Spacecraft by Christian Tedeschi
    Via TelegraphArts' photostream on flickr
    nevertheless by Catherine Widgery, 2004, via widergy
    Nevertheless by Catherine Widgery, 2004
    Via Catherine Widgery
    Photograph by Martin Klimas
    Via Martin Klimas
    Explosion 1 by Katy Stone, 2005, via katystone.net
    Explosion 1 by Katy Stone, 2005
    Via Katy Stone
    Smash Comics via www.flashbackuniverse
    Smash Comics
    Via Flashback Universe
    Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto breaks mirrors during a performance for the creation of his "Twentytwo less two" installation on the second day of vernissage of the 53rd Biennale International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy, Friday, June 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)
    Via The Big Picture
    C-Break by Ferrell McCollough
    C-Break by Ferrell McCollough
    Via The Behance Network
    Image by Lee Mawdsley, via leemawdsley.co.uk
    Image by Lee Mawdsley
    Via Lee Mawdsley
    Image by Lee Mawdsley
    Via Lee Mawdsley
    Sonata for Violin and Hammer by Hannah Wasileski, 2005/2006
    Via Hannah Wasileski
    Cold Dark Matter by Cornelia Parker
    Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View by Cornelia Parker, 1991
    Photograph by Martin Klimas
    Via Martin Klimas

    I’ve been told to tell you that this page is, um, “totally awesome”. You’ve managed to appeal to the little destructo boys in a profound way. They also request MORE.

    Laura Brady added these words on Nov 15 09 at 10:49 am

    More could totally happen, destructo boys. You betcha. Smash makes me happy. Very.

    Stay tuned, lads.

    Katy added these words on Nov 15 09 at 11:26 am

    ah, right, okay… so what i had said was:

    for my money, nothing in this genre will ever top berk breathed’s “gesundheit”:


    rache added these words on Nov 18 09 at 7:03 pm

    My son’s favorite show is Mythbusters. He tells me often “Destruction is cool.” He’s a prophet.

    Kim added these words on Nov 24 09 at 5:23 pm

    I bloody love smash / smashing. Love it.

    Joe added these words on Mar 03 10 at 7:39 am

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