A Word from the Curator
Artservis, the project and web portal of SCCA-Ljubljana, Center for Contemporary Arts, came to life in 2001 out of a need for systematic collecting and efficient mediating of information on and for activities in culture. With Artservis’ Collection, first presented in public in 2005, Artservis is expanding its scope of activities from informing and consulting to promotion of creativity.
The Collection includes artworks of authors of different generations who deal in a critical, analytical, witty, personal or any other manner with production conditions in the field of contemporary art. Their artworks enable a backstage view of those aspects of artistic creation that otherwise remain concealed: career, positioning within the art system, cultural policy and power plays and relations that are being established within the art system. The diversity is also emphasised through the choice of media and means of expression: video, graphic art, photography, discursive, web and interdisciplinary projects. The usage of chosen medium in selected works features a combination of methodical thinking and innovation, an investigative curiosity and contemporary research approach.
Apart from content and genre diversity, the Collection also provides the possibility of different modes of presentation that adapt to the possibilities and technical specifics of a given space as well as to the audience. As a media installation, the Collection may use the open nature of works, reinterpreting them space-wise and exhibiting them as humorous and – nowadays increasingly needed – stimulating story on conditions of artistic production. Different examples establish among each other a communication of sort, which might include an intervention by the spectator, thus participating in discursive and web works. By their nature, those works are not concluded but in constant fluctuation and existing precisely in their processuality – much like the conditions of artistic production. Another way of presenting the Collection is the form of lecture that unfolds through one-minute presentations of artworks thus enabling an equal presentation of authors and thematics. Due to the “concentration” of artistic ideas that mirror through the presented artistic projects, this form of presentation is certainly more inclined to discourse than to the aesthetic pleasure that stems out of the dialogue with artworks proper.
For the majority of artists, entering art institutions and their exhibition programmes is a rather difficult endeavour. Hence by establishing a self-sufficient experimental “exhibiting site” in the form of exhibiting artistic object, the Collection strives to warn that art may take place outside institutions and their programmes. To serve this purpose, a mobile artistic object will be created that will enable the exhibiting of Collection in any location regardless of exhibiting space, its technical possibilities and concept. The mobile artistic object will connect the presentational and content function. By “content function” of artistic object we mean its dimensions, its capability to offer us mental pleasure and a possible suggestion of the issue thematised through the object proper. “Representational” object does not represent any other concept than itself, allowing at once the aesthetic contemplation and connection of various media, hence the presentation of artworks through a unified hardware and software equipment.
The development of the Collection is certainly dependent on production conditions. When it comes to the Collection, one cannot separate the content concept and the execution as those components are akin, so to speak. The manner of presentation of artworks is closely tied with the very concept of content; therefore the Collection should be perceived as a work-in-progress. Expanding the Collection and choosing presentation spaces depend on the situation in the art system and production conditions within it. This means that the curator of the Collection is constantly “prowling” over the art system and is prepared to react in each and every moment to any kind of situation. All this requires constant exploration, getting to know various artistic approaches, reading theoretical and up-to-date texts in the field of contemporary art. All this again concludes the circle in which we circulate. In the end, it is necessary to warn of the fact that the conditions of production cannot change by themselves. It is particularly good to be aware of the fact that the individual or an institution cannot bring far their “wishes” for better production conditions if they solely attend their own “little garden”. A look over the fence is more than necessary for once one sees what lies over there, one has to be in awe: the very problem of production conditions permeates deeply all other social structures, whether it be the ossified education system or a new tax legislation. Until those structures begin to change and create interconnections, the desire to make things better will remain merely a desire. And projects such as Artservis’ Collection are merely projects that serve as eye-openers and as still successful windmill fighters.
Tevž Logar, Artservis’ Collection’s curator in the period 2005-2007
(The text is based on thematic premises for Artservis’ Collection conceived by Marija Mojca Pungerčar, Editor of Artservis and initiator of the Collection.)