Goldsmiths Curatorial Critique


Posted in Reviews by matteoconsonni on October 23, 2008
 Nina Beier and Marie Lund, 'Les Sabots', video, 2007

Nina Beier & Marie Lund, "Les Sabots", video, 2007

Is it possible for an exhibition to be in development while it’s open? The danish artists Nina Beier and Marie Lund (Denmark, 1975 and 1976) set up a project that tries to give an answer to this question. This will lead to a deep investigation on the concept of art show and on the relationship between the artist and the curator.

On the Opening day, at the One One One Gallery in London, a project space of the David Roberts Foundation, the starting point of the show was a proper personal exhibition, curated by Vincent Honorè. A lot of works among the ones displayed share a certain subversive tendency against the traditional way of exhibiting and the work’s creation process; a certain number of performance acts are declared through wall-labels, for example “all the best”, informs the viewer that all the mail received during the exhibition won’t be opened. The aim of some other works instead is to look into the relationship between an objective statement and all the different interpretations around it: “I wrote this song for you” is constituted by some speakers transmitting eights different versions of an unreleased song, first experienced and sang by eight different performers, while “a circular play” is the transcription of the first act of a theatrical play, written on paper at the same time it was viewed.

“the house and the back door” is a wooden crate that cointains a selection of  Nina Beier Mother’s books: those ones that became doubles when she got married and she mixed her collection with the one on his husband. The symbolic value of these paperback books is to represent an individuat identity even inside of a strong relationship, like a moderate resistance to the link.
A group of youg guys born in the years around 1968 is immortalized in “Les Sabots”: this black and white projection resumes a traditional composition for a group picture. But this composition is destroyed from the inside. In fact, the group of young people is makes faces at the camera, in a weak act of resistance to tradition ( sabots from the french sabotage, to subvert). Even if useless, this action calls to mind a series of revolutionary feelings, and makes us understand how the “spirit of rebellion” goes on and transmits in different ways. The work “42” instead resonates about the relationship between the artist and the curator, the different roles in the world of art and the ideative processes: the artists threw some dices and obtained the sum of 42, and asked the curator to install the work only when his throw will have the same result. The curator action is linked to the fate, and he becomes the final executor of the work.

The role of the curator becomes the fulcrum of the “developing” project of the artists: the solo show will become a group show, in fact from week to week some of the works displayed will be replaced with works of other artists, chosen by the danish couple, such as Benoit Maire, Johanna Billing, Cecilie Gravesen and Simon Dybbroe Møller. The curator cannot control this process, and his role swipes from the mediator to the one that is called to set all the mechanism of a process in which he will become the spectator.

The project of the show consists also in a performance night that took place on the 16th on October:
Jacob Dahl Jurgensen installed some frames that became the base for his action; using some magician’s ropes he tied the frames with knots, reflecting on magic and popular rituals. The final work took his place in the exhibition. One of the “performance labels” of Nina Beier and Marie Lund was  exchanged with the performance of Jiri Kovanda, a re-edition of his 1977 performance, in which he makes his way around an exhibition space, pressing himself as close as possible to the walls.
Other actions where performed by Dora Garcìa and Benoit Maire.
Nina Beier e Marie Lund adapted their subversive aesthetics to the whole structure of the exhibition, creating a on-site evolution; if the work of art is no more characterized by his “fixity” as in the past, so also the context that contains it can become dynamic.


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