Tuesday, 19 May 2009


As soon as an exhibition opens, it wants to be noticed – by an audience, by the press and by history. Every exhibition and every single work of art places itself inside of a tradition, but also looks forward to the future. This is even more so the case with Temporary City: just like every experimental ‘act’, it presents results that are only useful when they lie at the base of new experiments. In an over-curated era, in an art world where the power structures are constantly out of balance, Temporary City wants to look for other ways of grouping works of art – of making an exhibition. So what, then, are the questions that Temporary City is posing during the time of its existence?
There are questions that Temporary City should probably ask itself.
1. Is Temporary City a good exhibition? Is it possible to visit, read and interpret it with the ‘classic’ reading schemes of modern art? Or can it only be valued on a meta-level, as an exhibition about an alternative way of making an exhibition?
2. Do the works of art have retained their ‘original’ meaning? Does the exhibition architecture make it possible to view the works differently – or does the ‘structure’ make it impossible to view the works at all? Do the artists think that the intention they had when making their works, is lessened or strenghtened in the context of Temporary City? Or does the exhibition exert no influence at all?
3. What is a process? Does it mean anything? One of the often heard reactions to Temporary City was that ‘the process’ was quite alright, but the exhibition was rather ‘strange’. Does this mean that ‘the process’ is in no way visible in the exhibition? Does this mean that there is no such thing as a process? Or does this mean that a process has no value whatsoever – in art, as in anything else, it’s the result that counts. Who is enjoying the process ‘now’ – the artists, the audience, or no one in particular?
And then there are questions that Temporary City is posing to the future – to future editions of Temporary City or to similar initiatives in the western art world.
1. Should artists that make an exhibition behave like curators? And what does this mean? Is it possible to group artists and then choose a theme for the exhibtion? (Should it have been possible for Temporary City?) Or is it possible to choose a theme for an exhibition and then group artists – without a curator? And – more dangerously – does this not mean that artists can make a work on demand: here is a theme, now make a work about it!
2. Should artists that make an exhibition make their own exhibition architecture? Does every intervention of an architect in an exhibition without curator, imply a shift in power to this architect? And what exactly is exhibtion architecture? Why are four walls, a ceiling and a floor, not enough?
3. Should artists that make an exhibition not simply start using a new kind of exhibition: not a group exhibition with a curator, but an artist’s exhibition? The birth of a new genre! But how should the audience look at this kind of thing? How can an artist’s exhibition be properly enjoyed? (cvg)

No comments: