Monday, January 16, 2012

wall texts and the 2011 Jakarta Biennale

The chaotic display of wall texts - none at all, containing only minimal information (name of the artist and title of the work) or wrong translations (and perhaps there were also wall texts attached to the wrong art works) - at the 2011 Jakarta Biennale was certainly a major annoyance. However, this raises a question: since when has it been custom to have extensive wall texts interpreting the displayed works at art exhibitions and to see these texts as necessary? The works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh en Mondrian - to name the three most important artists from Dutch art history - are not accompanied by extensive wall texts (at least, so far as I recall). Are the works by these artists - unlike contemporary art works - considered self-explanatory?

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