An exhibition curated by Vincent Honoré with works by Sara Barker, Phyllida Barlow, Nina Beier, Karla Black, Carol Bove, Ben Cain, Varda Caivano, Luis Camnitzer, Marieta Chirulescu, Keith Coventry, Tony Cragg, Jason Dodge, Alex Dordoy, Nikolas Gambaroff, Gary Hume, Ian Law, George Henry Longly, Marie Lund, Benoît Maire, Victor Man, Kris Martin, Katy Moran, Anselm Reyle, Manuela Ribadeneira, Gerhard Richter, Pietro Roccasalva, David Schutter, Adam Thompson, Lesley Vance, Gary Webb, Lawrence Weiner and Alison Wilding.
Download exhibition leaflet here.
Notes on the museum as school
1. Gerhard Richter
This exhibition, A House of Leaves, self-organizes internally: its curatorial methodology is derived from the study of the three major artworks structuring the exhibition itself, and the gallery where these artworks are successively displayed. The exhibition is conceived as a symphony in three movements plus an epilogue. The first movement, structured around a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, looked at hybrid forms, from fragmented figures to abstraction. An abstract painting by Gerhard Richter now introduces the second movement, an exploration of abstraction, minimalism and performance. In early 2013, a performance by Pierre Huyghe will take us into the third movement, in which performance, rhythm, and volume are investigated. A House of Leaves will end with an epilogue, a final movement towards the void; the exhibition space will be emptied, exposing its architecture and volume, to reveal the museum’s long-term works, special commissions and interventions that have been embedded into the material structure of the building.
The constant substitution of artworks over the course of the exhibition gradually alters the overall context and evolves naturally from one movement into the next. Since the exhibition is in a constant state of flux, it is never the same and never whole; it is impossible to experience entirely, in all its sequences, but must be virtually (re)composed and completed by visitors. The exhibition thus functions on several planes simultaneously: real, virtual, and fictional. Like the house in the novel by Mark Z. Danielewski from which the exhibition borrows its title, the museum hosting such an exhibition becomes a productive medium in its own right, involving visitors in the (co)production of an artistic situation: the exhibition as deferred action and mental space.
Ideally, a museum is a site where thoughts and visions are formed and transformed, culture disassembled and the contemporary redesigned. Our aim at DRAF is to promote exhibitions not as pre-established formulas or didactic presentations of items, but as prototypes and experiences. From the start (2008), we have conceived DRAF as a forum for discussion and a structure acting beyond the confines of an exhibition space, a generative site that will establish and support an informal cultural community in a unique context.
More than a collection of artifacts, a museum should be defined as a collective narrative, a cognitive theatre that must be continually examined and confirmed through a variety of individual positions. After all, the word “museum” finds its origin in the Greek “mouseion”, a temple dedicated to the muses, whose activities were akin to those of a university or philosophical academy, an institute for studies and a community of scholars and thinkers. The pre-modern form of the museum was a space for musing, a space for the production and exchange of ideas.
5. Against interpretation
“A work of art encountered as a work of art is an experience, not a statement or an answer to a question. Art is not only about something: it is something. A work of art is a thing in the world, not just a text or a commentary on the world… (…) Which is to say that the knowledge we gain through art is an experience of the form or style of knowing something, rather than knowledge of something (like a fact or a moral judgement in itself).” (Susan Sontag) If we consider an artwork not solely as an object but as an experience, we might also consider the gallery as a hybrid space in permanent reconfiguration: all at once a gallery, an auditorium, a screening room, and a performance space. Here all hierarchies are rejected, and a conversation is as important as a six-month display. A House of Leaves can then become a house of signs and the museum a mode of representation. In this space, everything is exhibition and any exhibition is an experience. Together we create a powerhouse for the creation, redeployment, and dissemination of our collective knowledge.
6. Programmes 2008 – 2011 – 2012
In 2008, we started to invite external curators with our programme The Curators’ Series. In 2011, we launched Fig., a programme which explores how knowledge can be co-produced and shared through an innovative format of talks, conferences, research projects, and book presentations. Within this flexible format, which can vary from an event to a temporary installation to a radio programme, Fig. aims to trigger new questions and alternative models by considering knowledge not as transmission of information, but as a performative co-production. Now, in 2012, we are opening our Studio: a laboratory, workshop, theatre, school, meeting room, and library, where we can meet, discuss, co-produce ideas, and examine works. This space, like a salon, is private, but from time to time will host public activities and discussions. Artist Ruth Beale has designed special shelving and furniture for our event space on the first floor at DRAF and will present a series of ‘kitchen conversations’ starting on November 17th 2012. For the first session of this Ad Hoc Salon Series, Ruth Beale invites artist Giles Round to discuss his research into American designer Ken Isaacs’ theories of matrix design and 1974 publication How to Build Your Own Living Structures.
7. Luis Camnitzer
On leaving the building, please read the façade.