'In these projects Goto is swimming against the tide. Much serious contemporary work negates habitual codes of representation and therefore the possibility of a shared mythology. Rather than abnegation Goto's work is affirmative; he wants an art that can speak of the experience of history. More mainstream work, by the minimalism of its means or by disruptive juxtapositions, presents a blank impenetrability until a key is found to unlock recognition. Goto's work is a relative cornucopia of imagery, technically various and thick with allusion. He uses fiction, narrative and image. Contemporary work tends to use objects and their connotations; it tends to the indexical sign rather than the iconic, signifying by trace, imprint and the part that speaks of the whole, rather than by image. The discourse in which such work is produced and received is informed by cultural theory, whereas fiction and history are central to Goto's project...

Through its use of imagery, narrative, allusions and its overt claim to the ethical seriousness of high art, Goto's work is out of step - but not only with the current avant-garde: the call for high culture and the evocation of past art is usually a covert call for the comforts of familiar culture. Goto attempts an iconography for the discomforts of the present.'

Andrew Brighton
'John Goto and Photography as High Art`
Modern Painters, spring 1994

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