Mittwoch, 27. November 2013

Curator Gertrud Sandqvist on her current exhibition at Generali Foundation "Against Method"

Georgia Holz: This year’s guest curators—Guillaume Désanges, Helmut Draxler, and now you—have chosen very diverse approaches in presenting the collection. While Guillaume brought together a rather didactic and as he called it popular exhibition for which he selected many “pioneers” of Conceptual art, Helmut reflected on the interaction of collecting and exhibition making at the Generali Foundation. Your approach again is a different one, how would you describe it?

Gertrud Sandqvist: A collection could be there mainly for study purposes, but as soon as one exhibits it, it also creates an art experience, and it is this experience I would like to focus on. When it comes to Conceptual art, this focus is not at all self-evident on the contrary many of the experiments and thoughts about Conceptual art have questioned what this “experience” consists of. But if one looks closer into many of the works in the Generali Foundation Collection, they point at or call for precisely the experience, which means that there is a difference between seeing them in reality and reading about them or to "get the idea". If this difference exists, I mean that one could talk about an art experience also when it comes to Conceptual art, which means that there is integrity in the artwork which goes beyond its concept.

Georgia Holz: You said, what interests you most in the Generali Foundation Collection is its ambiguities, fissures as you call them. While the collection as a whole is striving for identity as a coherent Conceptual art collection, it is the autonomy of artworks themselves that is able to break with this reading. You use the phrase "to spill over" for describing this autonomy. Could you further explain what this "spilling over" of the art works means?

Gertrud Sandqvist: I believe Marcel Duchamp had a point when he was writing about the “art co-efficient,” which according to him is there in all art. The art co-efficient means that there is something in the artwork that the artist didn't intend, and it is precisely the unintended, which transforms a work into art. This is of course exactly what the conceptual artists denied or at least tried to avoid. But as soon as one materializes an idea something happens, which cannot be completely controlled—not to say what happens when this artwork meets the spectator. This is becoming even more obvious when you find such a fine and coherent collection as the one in the Generali Foundation. A collection is a result of choices, of decisions, in the end of interpretations. It means that one, from the extremely rich “intensity field,” which is an artwork, decides on one (or two or more) parameters which make it possible to include the work in, for instance a collection of Conceptual art. But even here there are aspects of the artwork which act diversely. This is a great strength, I think, which makes it possible for the artwork to expand over the moment in time and context when it ws conceived.

Georgia Holz is Assistant-Curator at Generali Foundation.

Donnerstag, 21. November 2013

Lili Dujourie, artist, in conversation with Gertrud Sandqvist, curator

November 20, 2013, 7 p.m. (English)

In her early video pieces from the 1970s and 1980s, the Belgian artist Lili Dujourie radically and rigorously explored the still-young medium. Video technology not only enabled her to document her actions in real time, it also allowed her to stage intimacy. Hommage à … I–V, a series of five videos, revolves around a dual regime of the gaze between theatrical pose and voyeuristic control. The artist presents her own body in a play between exposure, concealment, and the camera as a proxy for the viewer, an embodiment of the “pure” gaze. She showcases the entire register of female exhibitionism and reenacts the poses of art history’s nudes. Yet Dujourie is not a passive exponent of a desiring gaze but a self-determined agent creating an alternative narrative of the female body. The subject-object dichotomy gives way to a subject-subject relationship.

Held as part of Vienna Art Week.

Mittwoch, 20. November 2013

Mary Kelly, artist, in conversation with Gertrud Sandqvist, curator

November 19, 2013, 7 p.m. (English)

If there is a work of art that has comprehensively grasped, visualized, and contextualized the complexities of sensory and bodily experience in relation to a system, or more precisely, a structuralist matrix, it is Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document (1974–79). In this pioneering work, the artist addressed a topic that had been taboo—the subjective and physical experience of birth and motherhood—and lent it form by translating it into the systematic structure of a decidedly conceptualist aesthetic. Post-Partum Document was unsparingly analytical and revealed the conventions and stereotypes at work in feminism as well as Conceptual art. Kelly transcended the artistic and conceptual agenda of by resorting to methods from both psychoanalysis (Lacan) and the sciences. With its critical and yet affirmative stance toward Conceptual art, Post-Partum Document I. Prototype manifests the same “cracks,” contradictions, and paradoxes within Conceptual art that Gertrud Sandqvist traces in the exhibition Against Method.

Held as part of Vienna Art Week