Sunday, October 7, 2018
For Lindenow Festival, Leipzig, I chose to make a piece in the public space as part of group exhibition DESTILLAT. The artwork, a photography taken in a wasteland printed on poster paper, mounted on a wooden structure, was addressing the replacements of wastelands and unexploited lands in urban space, for new constructions which will be used for profitable reasons.
During the first night of the festival sometime after 4 am, tags appeared on the piece. "Fuck ELITE 'ART'" in yellow and "art is art" in red. I don't know if the first comment was a general response to contemporary art, or if this was a related to the piece itself. Lindenow is a festival which opens doors to the whole neighborhood, with no entry cost, and giving chance to artists to exhibit their work without exclusions and strict selections on what should be shown. I have rarely seen a festival as such, which brings diverse communities together in one place, while addressing social topics such as gentrification.
I felt the need to react. Censoring the tag would have been inappropriate and would have gone against the idea of giving space for people to express their views on contemporary art, which can be hermetic at some level. Dismantling the work or bringing it inside, to hide or to prevent more tags, would also be a form of withdrawal. With curator, Jan Apitz we decided to change the work's context by changing the work's location. We decided to put it directly in front of the door of the main exhibition. To bring the conversation onto the table. Maybe even to provoke more tags.
The work was inspired by wastelands, which are places I like because of the diversity that emerges on those lands (plants, insects, human occupations and activities). Related to this, pointing out elitist criteria does enhance the risk of homogenization. Therefore, If "elite art" refers to a monopolization of the concept of art by a smaller group of society, then all together it might be highlighting a threat to diversity.
Print on poster, wood