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Features / December 1, 1988

Eldon Garnet: Time Frames

“All that is intransitory—that is but an image! And the poets lie too much. But the best images and parables should speak of time and becoming: they sould be a eulogy and a justification of all transitoriness.” From The Antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann.

Throughout the duration of his 20-year career as an artist and writer, Eldon Garnet has been an eclectic collector of all that is transitory, whether it be the latest dilettante design, the literature currently in fashion or the newest toy manufactured by Macintosh or Polaroid. The fruits of Garnet’s labours are the result of tendrils that have embraced most art forms imaginable, including theatre, film, video, fiction, criticism, performance, poetry, photography, sculpture and holography. Sometimes self-contradictory and almost always controversial, Garnet’s work mirrors the social sadism and mental masochism of a schizophrenic contemporary art milieu, mingling a sense of the draconinan with the didactic and the dramatic. A true Brechtian at heart, Garnet makes work that is overtly theatrical; at the same time, it alienates and educates. To Garnet, all that is visual is vanity. His philosophical fascination with the Nietzschian notion of the Apollonian/Dionysian split is revealed by the equal attention he has paid throughout his career to both epic and lyrical forms of art—the classic differences examining each other from opposite sides of the looking glass.

Garnet is primarily identified as executive editor of Impulse magazine, an international publication of art and culture with a loaded literary history, a McLuhanesque format-in-flux and a mercurial mandate. In a country that finds it difficult to recognize the work of one artist, it is easy to see how a man who is many artists in one could be overlooked. Impulse has served to centralize the more Renaissance aspects of Garnet’s resumé. In fact, his contributions to the magazine—photography, wild theoretical essays, and fiction—have been the magazine’s one constant. As a series of documents, Impulse is a catalogue of cultural dialogues, a diary of diversity the direction of which is determined almost daily by Garnet’s creative autocracy.

So begins our Winter 1988 cover story. To keep reading, view a PDF of the entire article.