ON BEHALF OF OTHER PEOPLE’
'On Behalf of Other People' is a Contemporary Conceptual Art practice. Interested in phenomenology, objects / identity & post-structuralism – We analyze how these concepts are represented in objects, sculpture, paintings, video, & installation. Ideas and activating knowledge is essential to our project. We investigate a wide range of phenomena and material we live by. We believe collaboration and re-referencing provides a model for analyzing histories and ideas, our attempts allow us to capture essence and process relationships with complex systems in the environment. We understand exhibition as means for a public sphere. Recognizing exhibitions / installations / referencing as a discipline we engage with its theory and practice. We employ strategies of disinterment to produce new works that strive to open unique pathways. Referencing various points in time and cultural space, we'll consider the connections between people, artists and artworks. Through collaboration and re-contextualization, we're exploring the plurality of contemporary art practice and the ‘exhibition as medium’. This research aims to provide a lens for looking at different approaches to exhibition concepts and forms especially between Australia & Japan. Through sculpture, painting, photography, video and installation, our artists explore the sociopolitical and personal implications of making, viewing and experiencing art.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century the museum has been both a theme of artist’s reflections and a target of their criticism since it represents a central locus of power in the cultural economy of modernism. Initial museum – critical literature (futurism, Dada and Russian [Productivism] by artists is influenced by anti-bourgeois cultural critique and expressed in iconoclastic polemics or as revolutionary manifestos. It would be a separate and thoroughly worthwhile project to examine in greater detail the pre-history of artists’ criticism of the institutions to be found in the writings of the historical avant-garde. The reason that this document starts with documents from the sixties lies in the fact that its view of the history of museum criticism is determined by current questions. The image of the museum as representing an old world, the epitome of conservative values, a bastion against the progressive and new and thus as an institution which deserves to be utterly destroyed (symbolically, at least) (Marinetti) is now outmoded. Museums and cultural institutions have long since been together renewed to such an extent that they no longer pose a fundamental opposition to the “avant-garde” of economics, the entertainments industry and even artistic production. Moreover, art has given up its self-deceptive picture as a revolutionary force outside the social contract. Instead it has taken a critical position, fully conscious that it has always been a part of the structures it criticizes. The continuing loss of revolutionary pathos, rather than make the artistic criticism weaker, has increased its precision. Apodictic judgements are being replaced by increasingly concrete and differentiated analyses.
According to this type of analysis, the art world is entirely occupied by various commercial interests that "in the last instance" dictate the criteria of inclusion and exclusion that shape the art world. The artwork presents itself in this perspective as an unhappy, suffering commodity, one that is utterly submissive to the power of the market and differentiates itself from other commodities only through its ability to become a critical and self-critical commodity. And this notion of a self-critical commodity is, of course, utterly paradoxical. The (self-) critical artwork is a paradox-object that fits perfectly in the dominating paradigm of modern and contemporary art. There is, therefore, nothing to say against this kind of (self-)critical art from within that paradigm — but the question arises if such art can also be understood as social political art.
INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE
“No matter what emphasis is placed on the social or didactic intentions the success of a project exercising cultural exchange and institutional restructuring is reliant on an artistic imagination (an ability to deal with form, experience and meaning)”. Clair Bishop – Artificial Hells
In This Dissertation Titled ‘Survival Aesthetics’ © I have proposed to discuss the conditions of art practices today, arguing that the direction of art and the direction of individual artists has largely been produced in several systems and contexts for artists to acquire, maintain and provide value in the contexts of social, commercial, academic and institutional platforms of the art world. I will discuss this complex by focusing on Australia and Japans recent modern and contemporary art history with a selection of key artists, art works and projects. This will set a comparative back ground in the discussion on my own recent developments through which I will present and critically analyze a selection of my most critical art works, projects and exhibitions.
Throughout these discussions and this research, I aim to expose and explore the connections and relations between artists and artworks with an intention to indicate how artists are not only affected (influenced) by social conditions to survive but are also directly driven (influenced) by the generative powers of others. I aim to convince the reader that artists change their work based on the direction of the institution, including the current ‘status quo’, trends in Aesthetics and the zeitgeist of critical and theoretically hot topics. This thesis will argue that it is not always through ingenuity, personal vision, imaginative creativity, but through contingency and often through (strategic) motivations, whether it is or is not politically or socially beneficial, that artists and curators advance. These changes and maneuvers are often strategic and geared toward (ensuring the Artist acquires relevance in the Social and Industrial Sphere of the Arts) the artist ensuring their own relevance, survival and hopeful record in the canon of high art history, be that national or international. One of the important points made through this Paper is the claim that the ‘Exhibition as a medium’ (Oskar Batschmann) has played a critical role in the development of artists’ survival strategies and that includes working with or as the Curator.
This paper questions; Where does the artists’ role begin and end? And, where does the Curators role begin and end? This question is a hazy territory and one that can even be debated, shouldn't be distinguished or even exist at all. In the Survival Aesthetics thesis, I will examine, the activities of the Artist as Curator and the position of the Curator as an Artist.
Artists strategies and methods such as ‘Reference and Reproduction’ and ‘Conceptual Defense’ (JH) ie: Using the Philosopher, Historian, Theorist, Critic or Curators concepts as a GUARD to defend themselves for reasoning about their works, projects, techniques and aesthetics…are just some of the common practices for institutionalized artists. For Conceptual Defense: I propose and will demonstrate and examine that, Artist practice does not occur in isolation. It occurs through a series of encounters which shapes the artists sense of self and self-production, provides a source of possibilities’, and influences the artist’s values and aesthetics. One of the most important aspects of Conceptual Art in Survival Aesthetics is the critique, departure and deconstruction of Authorship – through inter-reference (re – appropriation), collaboration and denial of Authorship while at the same-time holding on to a strong position of author-ship.
CRITICAL THEMES AND TOPICS FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS
(Contemporary artists implement several Tactics many of which are not just individually conceived but are learnt and institutionally developed practices. (verb-) In my thesis, I argue that to ensure the survival of the artists’ project, contemporary art is dependent on 3 main (Principles). (noun-)
1. The works relationship to other works (Its Historical References) Using historical reference, homage and quotation which establishes a conceptual defense.
2. The works ability to create collaborative networks or its social connectivity, i.e. Its collective, collaborative and reproductive potential (Artists use of Curatorial Strategies). Multiplying the individuality of production through establishing artist groups, ARI’s, collaborations and Curatorial Strategies.
3. The works Commercial and Institutional Values. Establishing Commercial and Institutional Value using commercial and conceptual Branding (Marketing).
“Aa” / Artists exercises several divisive strategies to ensure the relevance of their works in the framework of contemporary art. Also, the presence and survival of the artists’ identity is developed through the artists’ ability to place their work and themselves into connected contexts. This becomes very apparent in the work of the last few decades of artist generations through which previous generations are superimposed and replicated in the artists’ project. This also takes on the guise of collaboration both consolidated and un-solicited. The movement (development) of survival aesthetics is also evident when we see artists follow avant-garde trends to create and maintain criticality and popularity among current critical and aesthetic concerns / artistic circles / Theoretical models & activated Idea Platforms.
In the whole enterprise of art, ‘The Specifics of Authorship’(JH) is diminished into a ‘Collective field of Production’(JH), For Survival, artists must know how to navigate this field both relinquishing their identity and simultaneously establishing it. Authorship, Anonymity and Autonomy are contradicted and play opposing roles in this cultural production. Through this field artists propel / project themselves towards the similarity of others or adopt an aesthetic or strategic likeness of others. Taking on the dialogue of others, continuing, inheriting the projects of others or through homage and a sense of responsibility, artists / producers try to expand on the work of previous generations or their contemporaries. Using the established forms of others provides the cultural capital one needs to expand (increase) individual capital.
This paper examines an influential but still under-studied phenomenon, a history that is still being written: the fundamental role artists have played as curators. Taking that ontologically ambiguous thing we call “the exhibition” as a critical medium, artists have often in the process radically rethought the conventional form of the exhibition as such. This project is about understanding and expanding collective art practices from those exhibitions. Each section in this paper looks both back and forward in time examining some historic and more recent artist-curated projects, collaborations and exhibitions, spanning a period from the postwar to the present. (In Consideration of OSKAR BĀTSCHMANN.)
I. The Problem / Predicament
We address the topic, ‘The Exhibition as artform/medium’ but that doubles with a critique of exhibitions and social connection as artists (survival) strategy. This topic is also prompted by the trends in Institutional critique and the acceptance that my practice as an (individual) institutional contemporary art practice is also embedded and bound within this system of cyclic reproduction and referential critique.
Since the transition of the post-war era from the modernist paradigm to post-modernism the art world has become a place of increasingly complex relations. In an Asia-Pacific context where its argued that ‘Euro-American perspectives are no longer valid as a formula for evaluating the art of this region’ (ATP, 2015), how do we then consider artworks that still reference these discourses. Although Australia & New Zealand are considered part of the Asia-Pacific region, Euro-American perspectives are still heavily influential. Taking this into account, this project has been affected in both its construction and in its eventual reception by its complex position being produced by an Australian in Japan. The critical question discussed in my thesis is; How are artists surviving the ever shifting contexts of contemporary art, and establishing enduring practices?, This in turn leads to other questions regarding the directions of art discourse and it’s relation to a substantially heterogeneous field of practice. Is art history dead or Is it still being written? If it is being written then who is authoring it? Is there still an art history in which artist are being written into or are they writing it themselves?) How can artists create a legacy to survive beyond their physicality in the now pluralistic discourse of the Globalized, International Art System? Are most artists destined only to create impact in their local trajectories? Where does the emerging and even the established post-contemporary artist position themselves in the spheres of the contemporary art world, where impactive gestures signal success and what counts is the artists identity and the conceptual project? Do artists need to rely on other artist work to reference art discourse and conceptually defend their ideas? Are we invisible without a brand name in the accelerated capitalist economies of Neo-Liberalism?
(Through) In this investigation I (will) consider the different context that artists are producing their work and how they navigate the social spheres between university practices, commercial galleries, artist-run-spaces, and the institutional exhibition spaces of the university and art museums (both Public and Private). As a proposal for possible ideas for exhibition sites and production, I discuss the idea of ‘The Exhibition as Medium’ in relation to artists collaborations and the precarious zones/practices of Multiple authorship.