Why is the artifact so alienated? The objectification of art is in part based on ongoing western philosophical hierarchies between subject and object.
More and more the assumption of a set history reveals itself as a privileged experience of the world and an inadequate form of discourse to define, articulate or even visualise contemporary society. The hangover of conceptualism is a simple debunking of representation, in which the object is again undermined, disavowed of its potential to perform, to be symbolic, to be activated in other ways. These expectations, that our surveillance constitutes value, denies alternative functions for the art object. It’s an incredibly blindsided approach when so many counter-histories show the object to hold its own agency.
The artists in this show maintain a practice whereby there is more space for symbolism and performativity, more space for the art object to generate an active function beyond that as being witnessed by a subject. This may be through a translation and use of ritual (the object acts), or as being documentations of performance or collective actions/interactions. Additionally, some of the works in the exhibition suggest they are in a constant state of formation, carrying the studio with them. They evade our desire to solidify them at their point of exhibition, as we lay our eyes on them.
The connection between the artist and the work is one of the forms through which art can maintain specific subjectivities. Yet it is the refusal to separate social and historical contexts from performance and conceptual practices that allow the works in this show to assert their subjecthood and their unfixed temper.
text: Rózsa Farkas