artists making spaces

Vagon:

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artists making spaces

Vagon:

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introduction
A Belief
A collection of blog-posts. An art-book that is an art-space. An exhibition of local young artists. A biased and incoherent review of conceptual art practices. This work can be defined in many ways, all of them accurate. But the goal of this project is to communicate a feeling: the attitude, the initiative for change among some of us, and the core belief that one must create his own context. Referencing art-historical precedents this booklet creates a framework that complements the local University-based context, and highlights the alternative practices within this student art-scene. Placed within the larger structure of the final-year exhibition, this collection of works by a few artists, challenges conventional notions of a diploma-thesis and work. Reacting to the familiar medium-based discrimination, the selection includes various artistic and non-artistic means of communicating an idea, underlining the preference for an intermedia approach. Although on the edge of institutional critique, the aim must be clearly understood, not as an attack, but as a constructive discussion, operating as a complementary, not opposite, point of view. It is also to be noted that the artists, whose works are included here, do not act as a group of artists. The common characteristics of these works are mainly a result of the local context. Presenting them together, by means of curatorial intervention, makes these shared concerns known and provides for an interesting starting point into a discussion regarding the social dynamics of an education-centred art community.

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a conceptual art discourse

Cut and Paste Approach to Art-Historical References

Beginning with the latter half of the 1960s, conceptual art was at the forefront of art and art theoretical discourse. From Daniel Buren and up to the Art-Language group, these artists produced works and wrote texts that challenged contemporary notions on art. Starting off with a sense of resistance to some kind of (supposed) oppression by the conventional art world1, they sought out to knock down the dominance of the art-object and raise the concept, and the idea to the rank of artwork. This first part is a short outline of a few explorations by 60s and 70s conceptual artists, works and ideas that still hold their relevancy even in contemporary contexts. Starting off with the legacy of Duchamp’s ready-mades, this historical incursion will trace a train of thought that brought these artists to conclusions which now affect the present contemporary art scene. Duchamp acted as a precedent for the Art-Language group, which, among others, used his notions regarding readymades as a starting point. Terry Atkinson, and Michael Baldwin started a journal in 1969, together with David Bainbridge and Harold Hurrel that merged the domains of art, art theory, and philosophy together. In the introductory article of the first volume of Art-Language Journal Atkinson and Baldwin discussed Bainbridge’s work Crane (1966) in relation to Duchamp’s ready-made Bottle Rack (1914). Conceived as a product of theoretical discussion regarding “made-mades”, Crane was essentially the opposite of ready-mades: it was conceived as an art object created in a high art environment and thrown out into a non-art environment, whereas the Bottle Rack was manufactured in a mass-production non-art area and admitted into an art area by Duchamp’s act of placement.2 “But the Bottle Rack and the Crane shared certain characteristics, which was that the intention of the artists has to be precisely specified by the artist through schema external to the object itself.”3 Crane was a work highly dependent on placement and more pronouncedly on it’s temporal characteristics.

Shifting between being an art-object-and-crane and just a crane lead Atkinson and Baldwin to question art-ambiences rather than the objects themselves. Victor Burgin notes that “a bottle-rack does not function as a sign in any language, it denotes nothing but itself ‘denoted as’ art. The information it originally communicated has since decayed; it functions now as the historical precedent endorsing a presentational strategy which might be expressed: ‘By definition, art object is an object presented by an artist within the context of art. Therefore any object which meets these conditions may serve as an art object.’ “4 This then set the stage for a large amount of works produced after the 1960s, starting the idea that eventually lead to the common phrase “anything goes”. The idea that meaning does not reside within objects, but is a function of the context, was one that Burgin put forth, commenting that it is as meaningful to change context as it is to change the object. He regarded the former method less effective at the time. “The question is not, “What or where becomes an art ambience?” but more, “When, what, or where becomes an art ambience?”. “5 Terry Atkinson and Michael Baldwin also gave out a guide to identifying an object as a member of the class “art-object” and presented four ways of making objects that would serve as art-objects. The last method did not even produce an object in itself, but proposed that a declaration be a valid form of creating art. Not in the sense of declaring an object as being an artwork, but just the action of declaring (a concept or an idea) as art. The assertion, not the object, was the work. This lead to their Air Show (1967) piece, which was comprised of an air column with a 1 square-mile base and unspecified height or location.

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“The question of “recognition” is a crucial one here. There has been a constantly developing series of methods throughout the evolution of the art whereby the artist has attempted to construct various devices to insure that his intention to count the object as an art-object is recognized. “6 Daniel Buren’s article Beware!7 tried to clarify the meanings of the word “concept” in the “para-artistic language” presenting multiple methods of making conceptual art, that lead to the conclusion that there is a considerable number of works of art that exist only because of the location in which they are seen is taken for granted. This way the location becomes the frame. Back in the 60s and 70s these statements were causing quite a stir in the art world, and the conceptual artists were seen as radicals,8 even though their art raises questions one now takes for granted. The ideas put forth by conceptual artists shifted the emphasis from modernistic object-based art to a more open idea-based art, that permanently changed the way most contemporary art pieces are now perceived and understood. ”The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more. I prefer, simply, to state the existence of things in terms of time and/or place. More specifically, the work concerns itself with things whose interrelationship is beyond direct perceptual experience, awareness of the work depends on a system of documentation. This documentation takes the form of photographs, maps, drawings, and descriptive language.”9

Terry Atkinson & Michael Baldwin, Map of the Sahara desert after Lewis Carrol, Ink on Graph Paper, 1967

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space-time intervals
(x1;x2) ; (y1;y2) ; (z1;z2) ; (t1;t2)
Conceptual Art has changed the name of the game. Their works produced drastic shifts both in art making, and writing about art, as well as opening up a new area of contemporary art. Joseph Kosuth said that “all art after Duchamp is conceptual in nature, because art only exists conceptually”.10 The issues concerning the inclusion of certain works, objects or actions in the category “art” still persist, so it is not redundant to review and expand upon conceptual art writings, especially in the field of defining art-ambiences and art-objects. The question “What is art?” can simply be answered by a statement along the lines: “an object presented by an artist within the context of art.” Thus it is sensible to focus on the context, the art-ambience, as it seems that this is the truly essential part of the equation. One must then question “When, what, and where is an art ambience?”.11 Taking on a rather scientific and possibly overly literal view, the when, and where can be translated to questions regarding space and time. Thus an art-ambience is necessarily a collection of space-time intervals12 (x1;x2) ; (y1;y2) ; (z1;z2) ; (t1;t2) that is defined or declared to be a place in which art happens.13 This announcing seems to be made by the artist, but it is the viewer who must make the ultimate declaration. One can only see art-works inside an art-context. It is by inclusion inside of this imaginary space-time box, that an object, action or situation becomes art. If the viewer is aware that the space contained within some limits is an art-ambience then everything inside will be seen as art. The viewer is then supposed to project such boxes around objects so that he can perceive them as art. This is most clear in the case of ready-mades. Even though the viewer is the one creating the box that is affecting his perception, the decision of placing such frames is not up to his will. It is the job of artists, curators, gallerists and other members of the art-world to induce and suggest the space-time intervals that the viewer might then take for granted. For some players it is easier: a museum director need only announce the space and time intervals; no further information is really necessary, due to it being an already established art-ambience. Proposing new art-spaces is also not a particularly difficult thing to do: Declaration still holds credibility, one must only present it to the right public and any place can become an art-space. The “anything goes” view is as appropriate for art-spaces as it is for art-objects. The viewer needs an art-ambience, because most art is seen as disconnected from life itself, even socially inclined art, and thus provides a sort of escape. This is similar to newscasts: even though the images represent real, live situations, sometimes happening relatively nearby, they are abstracted by the means of the television display and the relative safety and comfort of home, to such extent that they seem outerworldly stories. Another similar ambience is cinema: the dark room and immobilised position, that contrast with the bright moving images on the projection, are meant to create a much needed gap between the every-day world of the viewer and the alternate universe of the film. This is the means through which escape is achieved.14 As the viewer leaves his own world behind, he begins to take on an abstracted view, ignoring trivial details and searching for greater truths, and ideas, concepts or just aesthetic emotion. The most common method of creating an art-ambience is the one in which one takes objects and places them in a confined space, then names the whole thing an exhibition. Such a simplified way of approaching the subject brings together two usually opposing roles. An installation artist finds or makes objects and places them within a spatial configuration creating relationships that make up the conceptual core of the installation. Arguably a curator does the same thing: makes a selection of objects he considers fit to belong to the class art-object and places them within a confined space so that the combined product of objects and space, and the relations between them, create the exhibition. Seen from this angle they can both be called artists that create spaces. “Conceptual artists shifted the emphasis of art making away from static, individual objects toward the presentation of new relationships in space and time. These relationships could be purely spatial, but also logical and political. They could be relationships among things, texts, and photo-documents, but could also involve performances, happenings, films, and videos—all of which were shown inside the same installation space. In other words, conceptual art can be characterized as installation art—as a shift from the exhibition space presenting individual, disconnected objects to a holistic exhibition space in which the relations between objects are the basis of the artwork. “15

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enclosed spaces
Borders and Critique
Declaring art-ambiences or art-spaces is a practice accessible to a wide range of people and has become, especially due to relatively newer communications technologies, an effortless action. One is only required to fill in a form with the spatial and temporal coordinates and an art-space is created. Thus Facebook provides a solid platform for spreading information regarding a certain art-event. It is irrelevant if that art-space will continue and grow into an established context or remain as a one-shot event. The philosophical curiosity lies in the nature of the change exercised by defining the space-time intervals.

Flaviu Rogojan, ( x , y ) , .gif Animation, 2012

When drawing a line one draws a border, and just like some political borders, there is mostly a vague and uncertain nature to the exact position of the line. The landscape that lies on both sides of the border may share the same characteristics, same flora and fauna, yet the border provokes and induces a strong, undeniable feeling in the passer that he is now someplace else. The same provocation and induction methods are present when defining the border to an art-ambience space-time box. When focusing this much on the issues external to the actual art-objects or their presentation, they become abstracted, in a reductional sense, so that the emphasis lies on theoretical discussion regarding potential art-works or exhibitions. In a conceptual art fashion, some works presented here are more likely diagrams or representations to aid the theoretical discussion, rather than artworks.

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In this way the Riparian Zone series of works is to be seen as an qvasi-educational diagram, focusing on the border issue. The riparian zone is a natural strip of land that can act out in some areas as a kind of border. The satellite pictures were sought out and chosen to show off the specific situation in which there is a border that is in itself interesting compared to it’s surroundings. Also, the chosen photographs reflect the ambiguity of the two delimited areas, as they are almost interchangeably identical based on purely visual characteristics. The almost mathematical drawings, and the textual footnotes are tying the diagrams down to a theoretical / conceptual practice. Aesthetically, the Riparian Zone series is intentionally close to the appearance of conceptualist works, relying on a minimalist and clear form of communicating information, rather than any metaphorical or aesthetic form. Anunț! (Notice!) is a piece that goes onto declaring already established non-art spaces as art-ambiences. It defines a temporal interval that conceptually changes the way a space is perceived. A post office is not a usual place for contemporary art, and Romanian society, especially, is not used to having contact with art outside of its usual gallery or museum space. By defining a short period of time, once a week, in which the interior public space becomes an exhibition room or a host for performances or happenings, the customer becomes an art visitor. He is thrown in the situation of perceiving the there-and-then situation as the product of an intentional artistic action. The hosting institution does not have to change anything, it is just the potential of seeing things as art that is important. The visitor will begin to question where the line is drawn: what objects or situations were there before, are normal and expected, and which objects or situations are the new, intentional, artworks? This can lead to misrecognitions, objects or happenings that are ordinary, now mistaken for art, or people being seen as performers. The philosophical question then arises: if they are now in an art-ambience, which was defined in a relatively established art context, do those objects, situations or “performances” become artworks? If so, wherein does the authorship lie? Is it another case of a curated show, or staged happening in which the one that defines the time-interval gets all the credit?

Flaviu Rogojan, Riparian Series, Collage, 2012

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Flaviu Rogojan, Anunț!, Photographic Documentation of a Performance, 2012

In Beziehungsarbeit / Kunst und Institution (Relationship Building / Art and Institution),17 an exhibition at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna, multiple works were presented along the lines of institutional critique art. The artistic methods highlighted ranged from museum designs and redesigns, interventions on existing architecture, fictional counter-designs and alternative models.18 The issue of space was one of the key issues, but social, economic, and political roles of art and institutions remained of central importance. These concerns are conceptually tied one to the other. When creating post-conceptual art that questions the workings of the art-world on an abstract philosophical level, it also reverberates on a social level.

Drawing by Larisa Crăciunaș. Not intended as an artwork, the drawing served as a presentation aid for a school assignment. It is a sketch of a potential room for art-related meetings and discussions as part of an imagined exhibition.

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Exhibition Flyer from Cum stau lucrurile / Anca Mureșan (How things are / Anca Mureșan), Museum of Art Cluj-Napoca, 25.apr.-29.may 2012, curated by Liviana Dan and Dan Popescu. The exhibition was spread out to a number of unconventional spaces, like a shoe-repair workshop, a hospital or various shops, effectively declaring these spaces as a part of a greater art-context.

Questioning the mechanisms through which one creates art-contexts unavoidably leads to institutional critique. While not usually associated with such political intentions, conceptual art’s debate on theoretical grounds established the basis of institutional critique as an form of art. “Art, whatever else it may be, is exclusively political. What is called for is the analysis of formal and cultural limits (not one or the other) within which art exists and struggles”.16

context

U.A.D. Cluj-Napoca19

The Art University is an inherently interesting social and professional ambience. The scope of this study does not include discussing art educational concerns, although there is much to say, so it will be limited to observations of patterns among the local University art-world. Firstly, one must admit that being classified as an art student provides an unnatural extent of freedom. A student can do what the academy asks of him, and this will be perceived as good: he is studying hard to eventually become a skilled artist. A student that does not do what the academy expects is a rebellious student, which is also good: for this is seen as a way to get over the old art of the past and bring in a fresh view. An art student is also immune to questions of good art vs. bad art: he is still learning, so to say, suspended in a situation in which if you do good, it’s all good, and if you do bad, you see it as a chance to learn. An art student can even get away with not doing art at all, just proclaiming that whatever he does is part of some sort of art-performance. And it’s still good, because art students are not expected to have a coherent discourse. Being an art student is being the best kind of student there is. Secondly, the framework of a University art-world provokes reactions among the students that are targeted toward the University system. Being shielded of the real art-world, students adjust and respond to their own world. Money is mostly not involved, so works relating to financial market value (whether in a positive or critical way) are not to be found, and if they were to state anything, it would mostly be from a second-hand experience. This leaves reactions and discussions happening more on the theoretical and social side of things. Generally speaking the Romanian art-scene is poorly developed. The prospects for a young art student are grim: the University doesn’t really provide a good enough validation, and there are almost no galleries or art-spaces; thus most art-students never make it into the field of contemporary art. Yet there is a student’s reaction against this University-centered art-world. The core belief among some of them that they must create their own context. Partly responding to the local situation, they are creating, not finding, a context in which what they do is recognized as art. This is the driving force behind many young artists’ initiatives.

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Flaviu Rogojan, part of Residency Space series, Photographs, 2012

Within this small University-related network, the students group up on mostly same-interest criteria. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of perceived competition between different departments and between students themselves. This also has to do with the way the University was set up, but mostly by deep feelings of mistrust, and scepticism that dominate the majority of Romanian students. Cooperation between students within Cluj’s University of Art (or other local universities for that matter) are at a near-zero level. Recently however, there have been a few significant efforts to kickstart a small-scale alternative attitude. There now is a union-like NGO that represents art students and is actively involved in educational policies, as well as providing student based projects.20 Through this institutional initiative some student’s ideas became projects. Relying on volunteer work, the independently financed organisation helped build up a slight feeling of collaborative spirit, and the start of an art-centred community. One of these projects is Ataș Project Space, a space for promoting students’ art that doesn’t fit the conditions of their own departments. While also providing a platform for discussion about contemporary art practices, the project space has hosted a few relevant exhibitions. Trying to present projects, not individual works, and challenging students to think in terms of exhibitions and shows, not just presentations, has set the art-space apart from the usual semester’s-end exhibition. Being free from medium constraints and grades, the exhibiting students started acting more like artists, thus rendering their experience as a practical alternative education. University-based Expo Marathon also provides a good and welcome relatively free platform for exhibiting. The contest is set up so that prizes are given out to students individually, so the emphasis is again on an individual struggle rather than a cooperation. This text, being part of the Bachelor’s Degree is thus supposedly stuck in this individual-student grading system. As a reaction to the one-man-band system, and as a continuation of previous personal activity, this work is composed of references, documentation and inclusion of other students’ work. This booklet thus becomes an art-space or an art-context itself, an exhibition in its own right, that collects a set of projects that can be classified under “artist creating own context” and “artist creating spaces” categories. The curatorial selection is not so much an exhaustive and objective sampling of these practices, but more in the likes of a collection of objects and things that represent the feeling, the common instinct that one must seize his own context.

Flaviu Rogojan, Expo!, Collage, 2012

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Flaviu Rogojan, Ce fain ar fi... , Photograph, 2012

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enclosed spaces
Rooms Within Rooms
Knowing that they must create their own context, some artists search for spaces. Not always can a student find a space more suitable, and accessible than the University itself. This creates an apparent contradiction: if presented within the University setting, it’s not a personal context anymore. If one is to succeed in creating their own framework, then that space must be protected from the influence of the exterior state of things as much as possible. These artists claim spaces and build up walls around them, so that a new interior space is physically detached form it’s exterior surroundings. When being placed in an exhibition art-works get affected on all levels by the curatorial decisions: their relative positions and the exhibition design considerations impose a view upon the artwork, that must comply with the resulting relationships between the other works and the overall curatorial concept. If one is to react against the overall design and placement, then one must install the work himself. Moreover, an even larger gap is offered by visually and physically separating the pieces from the exhibition. This does not however escape the exhibition context all together, but places the exhibition induced interrelationships on a secondary level. The solution is then clear: to create your own context you must create your own exhibition-artwork. A number of rooms, booths or boxes are clearly marking the presence of common generational interest in the matter: Cristina Mircean’s project “Atenție! Se există!” , originally meant as a diploma piece but then shown at another University exhibition, Expo Maraton, explored issues of human presence and existence. The installation consisted of a long corridor, filled with loosely hanging beaded curtains that lead to a small, and dark empty room which lit up when detecting your presence. The artist stated in the exhibition flyer: “The installation piece (…) must be approached not as a work of art in itself, but as an experience generating source”. Acting on a perceptual level, the corridor and room had the purpose of making the visitor become aware of himself, so that an undeniable trace of his presence became the proof of his existence. Going even further, his presence also conditioned the visual existence of the world inside the installation. Upon entering, one was blindly walking through a dark corridor, it is only when arriving at the end that the light turned on and revealed one’s trace in the movements of the beads. This motion and light only existed as a function of the visitor’s presence. The characteristics of a corridor space, as transitional space, were also brought up in the written statement: “no one ever stays there, everybody passes through ( it could be called a sort of locational purgatory’)” “Conversație privată” (“Private Conversation“) is an installation by Daniel Popescu, vaguely resembling two adjoined dressing booths. The visitor is again invited to enter the enclosed space, but the entrance is of an uncomfortable low height, forcing the visitor to crouch and then get up inside. The crammed exterior appearance and the tight entrance both cause an expectation that contrasts the perception one has once inside. The entire interior room, even though small, is covered in mirrors that extend the apparent size to a volume of infinite expansion. The conflict between the tiny real interior and the boundless apparent interior is also backed up by the closeness of the second entrance. This places the second visitor abnormally close to the first. The small distance between them instantly causes them to be engaged in a form of conversation. To observe and apprehend these artworks one must perform an action, entering, that breaks the ties to the exterior context, and sets up a partial tabula rasa attitude towards the interior. Not belonging to a conceptual art practice, these walled-off environments still deal with a message rather than an image, but the significance of direct perception provides the foundation for keeping the art rooted in the visual domain.

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Vagon21
Project
Daniel Buren’s article “Beware!” summed up all the artistic practices that could at the time be classified under the name “conceptual art”. This list started with the term: ”1. Concept = Project. Certain works, which until now were considered only as rough outlines or drawings for works to be executed on another scale, will henceforth be raised to the rank of “concepts”. That which was only a means becomes an end through the miraculous use of one word. There is absolutely no question of just any sort of concept, but quite simply of an object that cannot be made life-size through lack of technical or financial means.”22 The project presented here fits neatly under this statement, while also drifting into the domain of institutional critique. Vagon is a proposal for an installation that passes itself off as an exhibition, effectively blurring a lot of conventionally clear lines. Devised as a work to be contained within the University final-year exhibition it openly raises the question of the need of another exhibition inside the greater one. Seen from this perspective, the actual artworks contained inside this exhibition become secondary to the issue at hand. A kind of oversized trailer or railway cart on road wheels, called “vagon” in the Romanian language, acts as the physical structure for the project. Initially used long ago as a means for transportation, the trailer now becomes a mobile exhibition pavilion. The positioning outside of the main exhibition yet still within the premises of the venue reminds of Giardini section of the Venice Biennial. The proposed placement expresses an attitude of complementing the main exhibition, rather than being it’s opposite, standing for a certain curatorial view that is not represented within the bigger event. The inside of the pavilion becomes an art-venue, a sort of project-space for curated shows. Responding to the academic approach of separating artworks by medium, the suggested exhibition of the Vagon project tries to act on an intermedia and conceptually-oriented attitude. The interesting subject of matter regarding this project is situated outside of the actual included works and exhibition. Within the context of the diploma show the trailer would behave like an installation, an object of considerable proportions, that encloses a volume. That confined area will be declared as an art-ambience, even though the whole object itself would be already present in an art-context. This reassuring re-statement has the purpose of claiming the space and it’s content and presenting it as an alternative endeavour.

proposed location for pavilion placement

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The project is made up of two parts: the pavilion as an exhibition and the pavilion as an art-work. When seen as an art piece, the conceptual characteristics of that space become significant. The trailer was not always an art-ambience, and between not being and being an art-space there was a transition. The first part in the project Vagon will be a documentation of this change in purpose. As a means to find the elusive border between art-space and not-art-space, the recording of the journey between the two seems a plausible method for discovery. After all, when one crosses the border between two states, a change is noticed, or at least a proud national sign on the way. Does a particular trailer become an art-pavilion the moment the artist decided he would use that trailer? Is it the moment when the artist first sees the trailer? Is it the moment the trailer arrives at the exhibition? Is there even a precise moment when the transfer of function happens? Photographically trying to catch the moment, in an artistically pretentious journalistic way, might seem hopeless but introduces a conceptual-romantic effort of understanding art and it’s workings. During the trip between the initial location and the final exhibition venue the trailer is in a state of transit. Similar to Schrödinger’s cat, the trailer is in a superposition of states: both art-space and not-artspace at the same time. The nature of contemporary transit is such, that there is no actual movement when travelling: One enters a transportation space (e.g. the inside of a plane) and is then suspended in an almostabstract space during the trip. A passenger does not move, he just sits or stands still, waits for the trip to end, and upon exiting the transitional space he instantly arrives at his destination. No movement involved. This bears strong resemblance to a scene in an episode of the Futurama animated sci-fi TV-show, in which Cubert explains the principle behind faster-than-light spaceship engines. “The engines don’t move the ship at all. The ship stays where it is and the engines move the universe around it. “23

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two-dimensional
The Catalogue is the Exhibition
Up to this point all presented works were dealing with the physical space solutions to the problem of creating a personal art-ambience. An exhibition space does not need to be a physical space; printed or online real-estate can also serve the same purpose. Historical precedents are not surprisingly24 in the hands of the same people encompassed under the term conceptual art. Seth Siegelaub, a very influential gallerist of the late 60s and early 70s, argued that art, which is independent of its physical presence, is not distorted and altered by its reproduction in books. ” It becomes “primary” information, while the reproduction of conventional art in books and catalogues is necessarily (distorted) “secondary” information. When information is primary, the catalogue can become the exhibition.”25 Confronting the art world with new and challenging ways to exhibit art, he has published a number of works, that cannot be classified neither as catalogues nor as artist books, but exhibitions on paper. Immaterial art could now be shown through a myriad of ways, as long as information could pass through to the “visitor”. In 1968 Siegelaub organised a book exhibition known as the Xerox Book26 in which each of the seven artists was asked to make a 25-page work on 8 1/2” x 11” paper, which was then photocopied and printed. He also transformed one 1970 issue of Studio International27 into an exhibition, eliminating the usual articles and making room for six critics to select artists, that would fill out the allocated pages. Each critic had an equal share of eight pages; some chose eight artists, others just one. Buren filled out seven pages with his identical yellow on white stripes, while a group of eight conceptual artists, chosen by Lucy Lippard, forwarded specific tasks to each other. Other pages presented documentation of material works or drawings and projects for possible works or installations. Additionally, Gilbert & George explored the concept of presenting a work within the framework of a magazine, also publishing in Studio International28 a work called Magazine Sculpture. A full-spread photograph showing the two sculptors formally dressed, can’t be seen as a piece of photographic art; it loses it’s essence once taken out of the context of a magazine. So the magazine becomes the gallery, and acts as an art-ambience, not a usual 3-dimensional space (+ time) but a two dimensional paper surface. For works where the idea remains more important than the physical perception of art, this reduction in dimensions is not damaging the presentation, but facilitating it.

This booklet acts in the same manner. The selection of works, diagrams and photodocuments presented here, in the first part, form a curated exhibition on paper. It is another way of claiming space, the covers symbolically representing the walls of the two-dimensional domain enclosed within. The resulting art-ambience as a whole is the conceptual artwork. It’s both interesting and relevant in an academic arteducational system to create works that are just frames. Similar to an artist creating highly aesthetic picture frames and then choosing painters or photographers to fill them up, this booklet acts as an exhibition frame, although the aesthetic judgement of creating pseudo-institutional frameworks is not as accessible. Reacting to the lack of cooperation and collaboration within the University-centred art scene the booklet-exhibition challenges notions of individuality by doing a group show that is graded and credited as a one-man effort. The last pages of the exhibition were given out to artists to fill up. This final section is an exploration in creating frames, from this point of view, the actual content is secondary, it’s purpose is simply to place an art-space for exhibiting a group of people, a clear opposite to the locally dominating individual shows.

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Gilbert & George, Magazine Sculpture, 1970

Artists building walls, enclosing rooms, creating frames, setting up contexts, all of these approaches presented here are different techniques of claiming space. Whether in an abstract theoretical way or through physical perception-altering constructs, the works here set themselves apart. This detaching is the common struggle, individually executed, that represents the answer to the belief mentioned at the beginning: the belief that one must create his/her own context. This entire project is one work of art: one framework that engulfs a sum of dualities. Both art-theory and art-practice, both exhibition and exhibited work, both individual and group effort, all of which provide the ambiguity necessary for a work that raises questions. Whatever one may call it, this is not a work that offers a solution, but a piece that calls for discussions. Herein lies it’s relevancy. This booklet is thus a starting point. Flaviu Rogojan

Flaviu Rogojan, Labels, 2012

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frame
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Lucy Lippard, Six Years: A Dematerialization of the Art Object 1966 - 1972, University of California Press, 1997 Terry Atkinson & Michael Baldwin, Introduction, Art-Language, Vol.1, 1969 idem. Victor Burgin, Rules of Thumb, Studio International, Vol.181, No.933, May 1971 Terry Atkinson & Michael Baldwin, Introduction, Art-Language, Vol.1, 1969 idem. Daniel Buren, Beware!, Studio International, Vol.179, No.920, March 1970 Lucy Lippard, Six Years: A Dematerialization of the Art Object 1966 - 1972, University of California Press, 1997 Douglas Huebler, from exhibition catalogue ”January 5-31, 1969”, Seth Siegelaub New York City, 1969 Joseph Kosuth, Art after Philosophy, publicat în Studio International, Vol.178, No.915, October 1969 Terry Atkinson & Michael Baldwin, Introduction, Art-Language, Vol.1, 1969 Intervals from mathematics are a better choice than, say, distances, due to the fact that intervals refer to both distance and position while keeping a clean and simple expression. The reference point is, to many mathematicians’ dislike, irrelevant to this discussion. 13. 14. There is a noticeable and intentional evasion in defining art itself, which paradoxically provides to a more coherent theory about art. The comparison between art-spaces and cinema was the subject of last year’s Portal exhibition, in which two different ideal ways of entering and perceiving art-ambiences were posed and presented. Portal, video-instalation, 2 channel sound, projection, 3.2 x 2 x 2 m PVC, aluminum and wood 2011; Second Portal, found-object, site-specific, Ladder, 2011 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. Boris Groys, Introduction - Global Conceptualism Revisited, e-Flux Journal No.29, November 2011 Daniel Buren, quoted in: Hans Haacke, Obra Social, Barcelona 1995 16. June 2011 – 16. October 2011 Astrid Wege, Die Arbeit geht weiter (The Work Continues), Beziehungsarbeit / Kunst und Institution Exhibition Catalogue, 2011 University of Art and Design, Cluj-Napoca ASUAD (University of Art & Design Students Association ) www.asuad.ro The link between the conceptual and theoretical line of questions and the socially involved institutional critique places Vagon in the position of being a forerunner of this booklet, that is why it is now bearing the same title. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. Daniel Buren, Beware!, Studio International, Vol.179, No.920, March 1970 Futurama, episode 15, season 2, originally aired on 9. April 2000 Alexander Alberro, Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity, MIT Press, 2004 Quoted from: Ursula Meyer, Conceptual Art, p. xiv, 1972: “Seth Siegelaub in conversation with the editor, September 27, 1969” The book can be seen at http://www.primaryinformation.org/files/CARBDHJKSLRMLW.pdf Artists: Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Lawrence Weiner. 27. 28. Studio International Vol.180 No.924 July/August 1970 Studio International Vol.179 No.922 May 1970

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