I do want to do something.

Bring the stuff in
November 23, 2008, 10:02 pm
Filed under: 98 weeks research project, Beirut notes

Marwa and I were talking about curators today. She was saying how much they needed the artists, I retorted that yes, but the same worked for the artists. According to her the exchange and the economy was not equal. I was not quite sure…

This conversation really rendered visible the divide between artists and non. There was the side of the artist, which I couldn’t have access to, meaning that there was the market, the system etc. etc., but there was something else that made the artist invaluable in a way that nothing could account for. Something to speculate on. Not to fall in that old myth, but there was a certain independence, a desecrated aura that spares the artist’s art from the ultimate explanation. Artists would probably not agree on that. Learn from the artist, learn from the practice is what two of my formers professors once told me, in two different lives. At the moment, I feel like getting closer to practice. The practice here can be defined in different ways, but even in “curatorial” work, the projects we do with 98weeks, I have an increasing desire of doing projects that come closer to “art projects”. Something that eventually does not need to be fully accounted for, where the responsibility is shared in a different way, the engagement is not as designed, no mission statement. At best a manifesto. In short, reduce the distance that in fact, does not exist.
This is a detour that does not necessarily link of what I wanted to say about curators. On that same afternoon, in fact, we met a real one. She had a perfectly articulated language and used long sentences to say very simple things; such as her position against representation, what she was interested in and what she was not interested in. (In fact, this seems to be a clear denominator amongst curators, they always state that they know what they want and don’t.). She was mainly explaining that she thought shows in Europe about the Middle East simply did not do it, and I agree with her on that point. But for me it was not a problem on whether they did a show on coming out of Beirut or a more thematic show on the law, intoxication, eroticism and politics or gravity, including some artist from the Arab world, but not under such banner.
Even if the question of how to “represent” artist from the region is a question definitely worth considering, I also think that the dynamics of that representation-exchange should change in fact.
Curators, artist, collectors etc are coming to Beirut to learn more about the art that is being produced here, however, there is no interest in showing things here. Why not present the artists they work with, some of the works they have done, some of the art they have produce? Technicalities can be dealt with. I personally think if that if there were more exchange and exposure between what comes in and what is taken out, this could affect the local artistic production, and make it less categorizable.
So Marwa and I would like to do a project space. Would be cool to call it Acapulco.