The Curator’s Paradox by Paco Barragán: http://artpulsemagazine.com/the-curators-paradox
Image: Marc Bijl, Never Mind the Politics, Here are the Curators, 2005, poster.
Ark Gallery (in Jakarta): http://arkgalerie.com
Asbestos Art Space (in Bandung): http://asbestosartspace.wordpress.com/
Canna Gallery (in Jakarta): http://www.galeri-canna.com/
Cemara6 Gallery (in Jakarta): http://cemara6galeri.wordpress.com/
Cemeti Art House (in Yogyakarta): http://www.cemetiarthouse.com/
CG Art Space (in Jakarta): http://www.cgartspace.net/
Common Room Networks Foundation (in Bandung): http://commonroom.info/
CP Biennale (2003 and 2005 in Jakarta): http://biennale.cp-foundation.org/
Edwin’s Gallery (in Jakarta): http://www.edwinsgallery.com/
Forum Lenteng in Jakarta: http://akumassa.org/
National Gallery (in Jakarta): http://www.galeri-nasional.or.id/
Soemardja Gallery (in Bandung): http://soemardjagallery.com/
House of Natural Fibres (in Yogyakarta): http://www.natural-fiber.com/
Indonesia Contemporary Art Network (in Yogyakarta): http://canmanage.net/
Indonesian Art Now: http://indoartnow.com/
Jakarta Arts Council: http://www.dkj.or.id/
Jakarta Biennale: http://jakartabiennale.org/
Jatiwangi Art Factory: http://jatiwangiartfactory.wordpress.com/
Jurnal Footage: http://www.jurnalfootage.com/
Kedai Kebun Forum (in Yogyakarta): http://kedaikebun.com/
Kendra Gallery (in Bali): http://kendragallery.com/
Kunci Cultural Center (in Yogyakarta): http://www.kunci.or.id/
Langgeng Art Foundation (in Yogyakarta): http://langgengfoundation.org/
Nadi Gallery (in Jakarta): http://www.nadigallery.com/profile.htm
OK Video Festival (organized by ruangrupa in Jakarta): http://news.okvideofestival.org/
Parallab (in Bandung): http://parallab.blogspot.com/
Platform3 (in Bandung): http://infoplatform3.wordpress.com/
Ruang Depan/S.14 (in Bandung): http://ruangdepans14.blogspot.com/
Ruang Mes56 (in Yogyakarta): http://mes56.com/
Ruangrupa (in Jakarta): http://www.ruangrupa.org/
Salihara (in Jakarta): http://salihara.org/
Semarang Contemporary Art Gallery: http://www.galerisemarang.com/
Selasar Sunaryo Art Space: http://www.selasarsunaryo.com/
Videolab (in Bandung): http://videolab.blogdrive.com/
Visual Art Archive (in Yogyakarta): http://www.ivaa-online.org/
Visual Arts Magazine: http://www.visualartsmagazine.info/
Vivi Yip Art Room (in Jakarta): http://viviyipartroom.com/
Yogyakarta Art Fair: http://www.artfairjogja.com/en
Yogyakarta Biennale: http://www.biennalejogja.org/
Slavoj Zizek writes in his book The Ticklish Subject (p.237): “Is not the ultimate example of reflexivity in today’s art the crucial role of the curator? His role is not limited to mere selection – through this selection, he (re)defines what art is today. That is to say: today’s art exhibitions display objects which, at least for the traditional approach, have nothing to do with art, up to human excrement and dead animals – so why is this to be perceived as art? Because what we see is the curator’s choice. When we visit an exhibition today, we are thus not directly observing works of art – what we are observing is the curator’s notion of what art is; in short, the ultimate artist is not the producer but the curator, his activity of selection.”
Two points should be made.
First, the curator-as-creator is an overstatement. Curators play many different roles. And many would not describe what they do as creating on par with what artists do.
Second, reflexivity concerning what is and what is not art does not stop with curators, but is continued by art critics, art historians, artists and the general public. The curator’s choice does not come out of thin air; she or he is part of discursive networks on art, other members are artists, art critics, art historians, the general public and their institutions.
In conclusion, Zizek’s use of reflexivity is too limited as he portrays curators as autonomous in his story.
Anne d’Harnoncourt advises us (in Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, p.179) to “look and look and look, and then to look again, because nothing replaces looking. Art is about looking – […] and as you look your are obviously thinking.”
“Oh art, what are you? You are so strong and powerful, so beautiful and moving. You make us walk around and around, pacing the city at all hours, in and out of our Art for All room. We really do love you and we really do hate you. Why do you have so many faces and voices? You make us thirst for you and then to run from you - escaping completely into a normal life - getting up, having breakfast, going to the work-shop and being sure of putting our mind and energy into the making of a door or maybe a simple table and chair. The whole life would surely be so easeful, so drunk with the normality of work and the simple pleasures of loving and hanging around for our lifetime. Oh Art, where did you come from, who mothered such a strange being. For what kind of people are you - are for the feeble of mind are you for the poor-at-heart, are you for those with no soul. Are you a branch of nature's fantastic network or are you an invention of some ambitious man? Do you come from a long line of arts? For every artist is born in the usual way and we have never seen a young artist. Is to become an artist to be reborn, or is it a condition of life? Coming slowly over a person like the daybreak. It brings the art ability to do this funny thing and shows you new possibilities for feeling and scratching at oneself and surroundings, setting standards, making you go into every scene and every contact, every touching nerve and all your senses. And Art we are driven by you at incredible speed, ignorant of the danger you are pushing and dragging us into. And yet Art, there is no going back, all roads go only on and on. We are happy for the good times that you give us and we work and wait only for those these titbits from your table. If you only knew how much these mean to us, transporting from the depths of tragedy and black despair to a beautiful life of happiness, taking us where the good times are. When this happens we are able to walk again with our heads held high. We artists need only to see a little light through the trees of the forest to be happy and working and back into gear again. And yet we dont forget you. Art, we continue to dedicate our artists art to you alone, for you and your pleasure, for Art's sake. We would honestly like to say to you, Art how happy we are to be your sculptors. We think about you all the time and feel very sentimental about you. We do realise that you are what we really crave for and many times we meet you in our dreams. We have glimpsed you through the abstract world and have tasted of your reality. One day we thought we saw you in a crowded street, you were dressed in a light brown suit, white shirt and a curious blue tie. You looked very smart but there was about your dress a curious worness and dryness. You were walking alone, light of step and in a very controlled sense. We were fascinated by the lightness of your face, your almost colourless eyes and your dusty-blonde hair. We approached you nervously and then just as we neared you you went out of sight for a second and then we could not find you again. We felt sad and unlucky and at the same time happy and hopeful to have seen your reality. We now feel very familiar with you, Art. We have learned from you many of the ways of life. In our work of drawings, sculptures, living-pieces, photo messages, written and spoken pieces we are also to be seen, frozen into a gazing for you. You will never find us working physically or with our nerves and yet we shall not cease to pose for you, Art. Many times we would like to know what you would like of us, your messages to us are not always easily understood. We realize that it cannot be too simple because of your great complexity and all-meaning. If at times we do not measure up or fulfil your wishes you mus believe that it is not because we are unserious but only because we are artists. We ask always for your help, Art for we need much strength in this modern time to be only artists of a life-time. We know that you are above the people of our artist world but we feel that we should tell you of the ordinariness and struggling that abounds and we ask you if this must be. Is it right that artists should only be able to work for you for only the days when they are new, fresh and crisp. Why can't you let them pay homage to you for all their days, growing stronger in your company and coming to know you better? Oh Art, please let us all relax with you. Recently Art, we thought to set ourselves teh task of painting a large set of narrative views descriptive of our lookin for you. We like very much to look forward to doing it and we are sure that they are really right for you.
TO BE WITH ART IS ALL WE ASK."
– Gilbert and George
Sentences on Conceptual Art
Sol Lewitt (New York, 1969)
Johannes Cladders states (in Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, p.57) “that it is the artist who creates a work, but a society that turns it into a work of art […]. In most cases, museums have failed to see the consequences of this notion. I have always considered myself to be a ‘co-producer of art […,] in the sense of participating as a museum – as a mediating institution – in the process that transforms a work into a work of art.”
Pontus Hultén states (in Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, pp.46-7) that art institutes need to have a collection, “otherwise the institution has no real foundation.” And, he continues, “the encounter between the collection and the temporary exhibition is an enriching experience […, which] produces an experience that is more than the sum of its parts. There’s a curious sort of current that starts to flow – that’s the real reason for a collection. A collection isn’t a shelter into which to retreat, it’s a resource of energy for the curator as much as the visitor.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein: “In art it is hard to say anything as good as: saying nothing.” (In Culture and Value, trans. P. Winch (Chicago: The Chicago University Press, 1984), p.23.)
Wittgenstein can obviously not mean that a blank page is poem or that a blank canvas is a painting – let alone captivating works of art – but what he could mean is that artists should stop producing cynical art just to feed the hungry beasts (their ego, their wallet, etc.) – the spot paintings by Damien Hirst come to mind (shown simultaneously at the eleven braches of Gagosian Gallery). The art market gone wild wasn’t an issue in Wittgenstein’s time. A better explanation, therefore, is that he urges artists to show and not to tell. But, to be honest, what Wittgenstein really means is a mystery to me.
Image: Damien Hirst, ‘Vipera Lebetina’, 2012, silkscreen print with glaze (70x63.5cm).
1. Don’t write at all. Don’t say a word. Be communicative by remaining silent.
2. Describe things, but as soon as you think about illuminating the whys and wherefores, stop. Go back over your writing. If you find that you slipped up, remove the offending passages.
3. Walk, walk, walk. Sooner or later something will distract you.
4. Make your writing so intensely personal that no one would even think that you were trying to explain something.
5. Confront your need to explain. Know where the thing is that you want to explain and then avoid it at all costs. Write around it, but never touch it. It will glow the way that phosphorescent fish in the water do.
6. There’s always more than one route to the same place; another way to say this is that multiple routes go to the same place. Find one of the other routes to the thing and describe it. Your reader will wind up in the same place, as if by magic.
7. Tell a story, but don’t say why.
James Pritchett (John Cage scholar at Princeton)
"Tell me what you see. Honestly. I want to know."
"I realise now that the first day I was only barely looking. I thought I was looking, but I was only getting a bare inkling of what's in these paintings. I'm only just starting to look."
They stood looking, together, at the coffins and trees and crowd. […]
"And what do you feel when you look?" he said.
"I don't know. It's complicated."
"Because I don't feel anything."
"I think I feel helpless. These paintings make me feel how helpless a person can be."
"Is that why you're here three straight days? To feel helpless?" he said.
"I'm here because I love the paintings. More and more. At first I was confused, and still am, a little. But I know I love the paintings now."
Image: 'Tote (Dead)' by Gerhard Richter (1988).
‘Natural’ and ‘Forced’ Assimilation
Pluralism means not assimilating the population or citizens into a single new unified identity after the old one has been forgotten. (G.M.)
I have always been fascinated with culture within the greater framework of the history of human civilization. While art is only a small, but integral, part of this comprehensive discourse, I always want to position art as a way of understanding, exploring, contemplating, and embracing the vehicle of cultural history: civilization. History has become essential as a coordinate in mapping the future of my art! Political and economic history, and the social changes that accompany them are dominant factors that constantly inspire cultural development. At the same time, art becomes the commentary and never-ending testimony of culture.
Semarang Gallery warmly invite you to
THE OPENING OF AN EXHIBITION BY MELLA JAARSMA AND NINDITYO ADIPURNOMO
Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 4 pm
Officiated by: Rina Ciputra Sastrawinata and Harjanto Halim
Hosted by: Jongkie Tio, Benita E. Arijani and Inge Widjajanti
Jl. Taman Srigunting No. 5-6 Semarang 50174
T. +62 24 355 2099 F. +62 24 355 2199
opening hours: Monday - Sunday, 8.30 am - 4.30 pm
Launching of the catalogue toekar tambah with authors
Inge Widjajanti, Ay Mey Lie, Peter Lie, and Asmudjo Jono Irianto
The exhibition runs until March 10, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 4 pm at Semarang Gallery
DISCUSSION: The meaning and relevance of
Peranakan culture in Indonesia nowadays
Speakers: Inge Widjajanti, Ay Mey Lie, and
Asmudjo Jono Irianto
Discussants: Chris Dharmawan, Donny Danardono,
Djawahir Muhamad, Harjanto Halim, Widya Wijayanti,
R. Soenarto and Triyanto Triwikromo
Moderator: Tubagus Svarajati
Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 8 pm at Jalan Gang Warung
PERFORMANCE: toekar tambah by Mella Jaarsma
Everybody is welcome to go to Jalan Gang Warung,
Pasar Semawis, after the discussion