Trust Exercise

Trust Exercise
Just imagine if old Bas Jan had mates like these...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

email invitation

We were raised that maybe we should die in our own name to serve the market, and lived in each other, taking ownership of everything and nothing...

I am still quite unwell. I have been hoping to get it together to say what I needed to say before now, presuming there is anything left to say at all. I suppose it works out for the best that I am in some kind of state and am left reliant on my friends to convey what it was I was sort of unsuccessfully trying to get at... that I was trying to put this together as a shared enterprise, to facilitate things happening as well as contributing my own ideas, because I love this life that I share. I love that so many nights are taken up going to look at things and talk to people who put things into the world usually at a cost- both financially, and in the acceptance that regardless of the calibre of the work they will be judged harshly by some; knowing that they are unlikely to ever profit by choosing this path, or mode of being. At best, what we have is what we share and it is something beyond anything that could be measured in monetary terms or defined by any self-interested theory of value (citing status). Every person I have involved in this exhibition has my trust, my respect and my love. The people exhibiting in this exhibition are people that have shared things with me... too much wine... or sent me emails about things I might like... or mixtapes... they've shared knowledge and ideas that were exciting and interesting to me. I am grateful to have the opportunity through Sean (Breezeblock) to be able to in turn facilitate passing some of that on... that's really all I have to answer for a curatorial statement.

I would love it if you would join us.

Zoe (O'Mahoney/Robertson)

(get on the email list:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Initial Response from Mitchel Cumming


All of this lines up almost too perfectly with my current line of thinking, so I would be a fool to refuse the invitation.

"I am a primary producer and I deal in raw material, just as I believe all of you are and do."
Primacy confuses me, especially a consideration of the curatorial act as primary. That said, I certainly don't think it impossible to think of the curatorial role this way, and personally have been thinking a lot about how it may be done. I think the question comes in two parts. The first is more obvious and connected directly to your desire to critique the institutional frame eg i) How does the curatorial act not overshadow the individual voices it attempts to present (eg Szeemann vs Buren @ Documenta). The second is more a question of identifying the difference of the act of curating to the act of artistic presentation eg ii) How does the curatorial act perform?

This second point has been taking up a lot of my time. As does the curatorial act. As such, a lot of my thinking has gone along with Jan Verwoert. 
( Verwoert: To All Those Who Set the Stage -
He identifies a key difference between artist and curator as the difference between performer and host. For Verwoert, while both the curatorial act and the artistic act can and should be valued to the same degree - as integral halves of a whole that seeks to bring work into view - it must be remembered that they operate on different temporalities. Where the artist must perform on the stage in a triumphant act of presentation, the curator's labour is tied to an ongoing and developmental position. Following this thinking, in order to honour curatorial activities as vital, bringing them onto the stage is perhaps an unfair act.

This becomes interesting in relation to Buren's conception of the studio, and the truer connection felt to the work when it remains in the place where its own developmental labour is evident. 

I think this is an interesting way of drawing together strands of practice that exist in interesting curatorial approaches AND in the practice of artists who feel the strong need to actively frame their own work. Both share an understanding of the activity of artistic production as ongoing, as daily, as incidental, as conversational, as communicative, incremental, occuring both actively (exhibiting) and passively (conversing). I think often about resituating artistic practices in this way, and believe critical and theoretical approaches toward the arts would do well to observe them. 

I'm very interested in where the act of exhibiting, and the desire to exhibit, fits here. If art can be thought by its practitioners as all of those previous things (ongoing, incremental, incidental etc) then the exhibition seems almost an anomoly. But we still do it, we still need it (I still need it?). Maybe its best to think of it simply as a stoppage. This would fit with the variation in temporal structures of the curator and the artist (although maybe I've made the case they are not so different after all?). Any timeline, whether performative/theatrical or durational/ongoing needs these stoppages to ground itself.

This is starting to spiral. Look forward to more talk.