Thursday, 28 May 2009

Answers... (4)

... from Paul Hendrikse.
1. The experience that one gets when one enters the room is that of an exhibition. I think that classic reading is a difficult term, since there has been produced so many shows since the sixties that have been experimental or hard to read at first sight that it all quite depends on the knowledge of the viewer. Institutes often offer a text or a small reader to get an insight in the motives/themes of the show and artists, contemporary art is often cryptic and a manual can be handy. Temporary City is definately is an exhibition that becomes more interesting the more you know about the process of making it and for me a more interesting experience on a meta-level. There was only limited space for everybody, so the amount of works of each participant was limited. Group-shows can be disappointing for the spectator, since all too often the individual practices remain cryptic or unreadable because there are too little works by the individual artists shown. That is partly the case in this exhibition, but since the goal was different it is not such a problem. I guess that most of us understood very well that Temporary City wasn't about showing your work in the very best way, nor an ordinary group show.
2. The individual works have become part of a bigger installation, since they all hang, stand, lean or are placed within the structure that Andreas provided. The works would function and be read very differently if the works would be shown in their ideal conditions. I think all the works (and thereby all the artists) had to take a step back and see how the individual work could 'survive' in the bigger picture. I guess that several artists have dealt with that complicated situation by adjusting their work to the structure or by making a new work that could withstand it. I chose for the second option, not the normal way I work, since my works are usually developed over time. I tried to implement my way of working in a very short time and that was quite a challenge; discussing during the mornings and early afternoons and then developing a work during the rest of the day.
3. There are several traces of the process in the exhibition. I think that the visitor can see that the exhibition structure has been altered in some places, one can feel the struggle that has been done to show together. And then, there is also a video document of Temporary City that can be watched in the video-room in the exhibition. This might give an insight to the public that visits the exhibition on what has happened and involve them in this process (and there is this blog). In the process of making this exhibition loads of possible questions and specific topics came up that could lead to new initiatives of this sort. Several of these questions and problems are still resonating in me.
1. All of the possible forms of making an exhibition mentioned in the question are valid, but problematic. I cannot imagine to construct exhibitions like that. I think Temporary City worked since it posed questions about the conditions of showing, this is a topic that we are all dealing with and therefore provided a common ground. I guess that one can only group artists with very different practices when it comes to these kind of questions.
2. In the process of getting to Temporary City we decided to ask an architect to design a structure. This had several reasons, the most important one was that it would give a first impulse and a possible frame or structure to show very different works together. The room could have been this structure, though I think that Temporary City didn't end up in endless fights since we had to deal with this 'given'. Obviously the architecture plays a very important role in the making of the exhibition. I found it interesting that this numb object became such a player during the week and I think it was good that Andreas wasn't a participant like the other artists, it would have been very problematic if any of the artists showing would have build the structure. It might have been interesting if the process would have taken longer, I think with more time the structure would have had a lesser impact on the exhibition. Now everybody had to react quite fast and there was not much time to change or redefine ways of dealing with this.
3. There is a long history in self-organization of artists, Temporary City was not a new phenomenon. From the sixties on artists have been organizing themselves making exhibitions, actions, performances. In several countries there was a real boom of artist run spaces usually coming out of or along the development of squatting. The curated exhibition (in the scale that it has now) is a rather new phenomenon, but has a history as well with Harald Szeeman as a pioneer. These different modes of making an exhibition will and should exist both. For both applies that they (in whatever conditions they are made) simply should be challenging in every possible way.

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