Text by Juli Carson, PhD.
As interpreted by Michel Foucault, Das Narrenschiff (The Ship of Fools), a fifteenth-century satire by Sebastian Brant, imagines a world in which knowledge belongs squarely in the realm of madness, useful only to those who would debate idly and apply nothing to experience. Daniel Joseph Martinez (born 1957) has recognized the relevance of this allegory to present times, and through text paintings, photographs and sculptures, he has traced contemporary Los Angeles onto Foucault's conception of Narrenschiff. Inspired by bus rides observing his fellow passengers, Martinez conceived of four narratives that explore a modern kind of knowledge-based perversity.
Throughout his career, Daniel Joseph Martinez has engaged in an interrogation of social, political, and cultural mores through artworks that have been described as nonlinear, asymmetrical, multidimen- sional propositions. The works, ranging from the solid to the ephemeral, are executed in a wide range of media, including text, sculpture, photography, painting, installation, robotics, performance, and public interventions. Ongoing themes in the work are contamination, history, nomadic power, cultural resistance, war, dissentience, and systems of symbolic exchange, directed toward the precondition of politics coexisting as radical beauty. Martinez is professor of theory, practice, and mediation of contemporary art in the Department of Art of the University of California, Irvine; he teaches in the Graduate Studies Program and the New Genres area. He lives and works in South Los Angeles.
This publication accompanies the exhibition Daniel Joseph Martinez: The Report of My Death Is an Exaggeration; Memoirs: Of Becoming Narrenschiff, at Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California (January 11 - March 8, 2014).
Published by Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 12 x 12 inches / 68 pages / 65 color images
Distributed by D.A.P.