About a year ago, keeping it real art critics was first heard of when a mysterious video project surfaced on YouTube: a short film in which the creators Stefan Ruitenbeek and Kate Sinha used a well-constructed yet playful argument to annihilate the work of award-winning artist Saskia Noor van Imhoff. Further episodes have popped up since, each one showing the careful dissection of a specific case related to either art or artist. A throng of die-hard fans now follows this process with a mixture of pleasure and horror. KIRAC is in search of love, in the form of truth. It uses that sincerest and most impossible Enlightenment fetish of all: dialectics. In other words, the belief that the truth can and will emerge only from reasonable discussion; the belief, therefore, that discussion and criticism is always permitted, and that in the end, each opponent is really an ally in this overriding search for truth. An impossible ideal, for people don’t want reason, people want to win, and the truth will always serve this purpose. KIRAC is no exception.
In lieu of real adversaries, KIRAC has become proficient in building imperfect enemies into nearly worthy opponents. Episode 6 on Renzo Martens (the artist who wants to gentrify the jungle) is a good example: in 45 minutes, Renzo’s character is wildly overrated and then thoroughly crushed on that very premise. The real Renzo is a lot less impressive than the KIRAC episode would have you believe. KIRAC’s continuous goal, then, is to go above and beyond the art it’s discussing, leaving the viewer with more than just a deconstructed work of art. Meanwhile, its enemies grow bigger and more advanced and the stakes are ever higher. Only time can tell if KIRAC will succeed in transforming fiction and belief into reality.
‘KIRAC 8: The Art of Simchowitz’ is a film about friendship and loneliness. About trying to befriend a successful art dealer by harshly criticizing his taste in art. Stefan Simchowitz turns out to be a force to be reckoned with, an antagonist who both seduces and disappoints – as expected, of course. He’s charming and intelligent, enjoys letting his guard down and is impervious to criticism. Simco is chaos and does not believe in dialectics. Stefan Ruitenbeek understands he must watch and observe. The film is an intimate portrait of an extraordinary man who has the rare talent of truly believing in himself. Ruitenbeek observes Simchowitz’ daily life, capturing his movements through the colorful biotope of millionaire art buyers in Los Angeles.