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.