WALDEN AFFAIRS
Presents

'Scripts for Art'
Curated by Silke Opitz

With:
Charles Gute (US)
&
Christian Jankowski (DE)


September 18 - October 16, 2011
Opening: Saturday, September 17 at 7 pm in Zuidwal 52
Open: Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 pm,
and by appointment


The subject and theme of the exhibition Scripts for Art is the art industry’s "own" language as it is used and applied today. Ultimately, therefore, the exhibition is concerned with the question of communication and communicability in art, as well as the possibility and necessity thereof beyond calm, introspective reception.

On the one hand, the art industry uses a particular vocabulary in the sense of specialist terminology; the aim of this is to communicate specific ideas, for example in academic research papers and contributions to catalogues. On the other hand, members of the art community also tend to have recourse to a certain fund of syntactical and conversational devices, which they use to "make art and artists" (in the sense of the market) or to draw attention to their membership of said community. The latter technique is particularly common in interview situations and other forums of discussion: interviews and talks involving artists, speeches at exhibition openings, encomiums, guided tours, small-talk at private viewings, etc. Even the aforementioned academic research papers and contributions to catalogues, however, not to mention art criticism, are not immune from this. They occasionally give the impression that the use of certain phrases and of the "right" quotation (meaning the quotation of the "right" thing) are de rigueur; in other words, they are indispensable if one wants to "belong".

The exhibition Scripts for Art also refers, albeit somewhat tangentially, to the traditional relationship between image and (literary) language; the textual aspect of this relationship is embodied to some extent in the form of ekphrasis and, beyond that, alludes to the ever-present phenomenon or indeed problem of translation, in other words the transfer of content from one medium to another. Whilst the classical sciences often proceed from the assumption that information remains constant in the face of all translation techniques, the tendency with translations in the field of culture is for information to shift or variations to occur. Thus the process involved in the translation of an art work into a text may be characterized as a gradual one, involving factual description/ transference, interpretation or indeed equivalent explanation. A variety of intentions are pursued in this way, such as (academic) cognition, (didactic) instruction and the creation of an entirely new, text-based work of art. In addition, this process determines to a not insignificant degree the relationship the artist has with the author as critic, art historian, curator, etc., as well as with a wider public. Here too, one is ultimately concerned with communicating a subjective perception of the art work, or else with writing, reading, speaking or hearing about it, and rather less with comprehending it (in Derrida’s sense) as a "text in its own right".

In contrast to this relationship between image and language, contextualised "art language" functions as an amalgamation of empty verbal ‘shells’, which, although conceptually distinct from those of general PR jargon, nevertheless have a deep or primary semantic relationship with the latter. Indeed, once one has learned this language, one can juggle its "special vocabulary" to great effect – on occasions, in the context of the art industry, one might say supercalifragilisticexpialidociously!


The exhibition is supported by the Goethe-Institut.

Websites:
Charles Gute
Christian Jankowski
Silke Opitz (curator)

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 Christian Jankowski    Still 'The Matrix Effect' 
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 Charles Gute, untitled   (The HUO Drawings), 2003 
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 Christian Jankowski   Still 'Herzlichen Glückwunsch' 
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 Christian Jankowski   Still 'Herzlichen Glückwunsch' 
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 Charles Gute, Strip Stripped, 2011   softcover book, 96 pages 
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 Charles Gute, Interview with   Lawrence Weiner, 2006, ink on paper