Thursday, October 31, 2019

Armin Linke, Take Me (I'm Yours), offset, 1995/2017

This is a curious little accordion by this Italian born artist now based in Berlin. Linke is a photographer who is "...primarily concerned with strategies of photographic representation and the intersection of collective memory, history and the archive. Working globally and peripatetically, his practice has centered around the documentation, through large scale-color prints, of the effects of globalization and urbanization, and the consequences of both on local populations." [source:]

This accordion by Linke documents the exhibition and participants in a rather interesting show during its first showing at the Serpentine gallery in London (24, March 1995 - 30, April, 1995). The exhibit continues to be shown in different international locations and one of the last ones, which included Linke's works (and I'm assuming this booklet as well), was at the Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan in 2017. The idea for this exhibition grew out of conversations between the curator, Hans Ulrich Obrist and the artist Christian Boltanski, and they developed a rather unique curatorial approach to this exhibition — visitors are invited to do all the things they don't normally do at an exhibition, such as touch the works, take works home, or help themselves to clothes in the huge piles scattered around the exhibition space. Not only are the visitors actively engaging with the show, but they are simultaneously changing the shape and look of the show as well, with this activity logically leading to an empty exhibition space. As a curator myself, I love the idea of throwing out the rule book for visiting exhibitions, and this booklet by Linke displays visitors to the Serpentine exhibition engaged in doing just that — bravo!

8 pages, one-sided, 5 3/4" (h) x 4" (w), when fully opened 2ft 9".

As an aside to how one is supposed to act at an exhibition, and in contrast to the above theme of taking things away — is, its reverse of adding things to an exhibition. I'm assuming this activity has a long and secret unwritten history, but I want to note here my own recent efforts in this regard. A couple of weeks ago I visited an exhibition at a distinguished cultural venue and they had a thematic show of works from their collection. One of the sections opened with a rather interesting work by Gary Simmons, titled "Us and Them" (1991) as below:

Now, I happened to have on my person a number of the small double-sided cards I've been doing since our current president came to power. This particular card has a personal resonance (I'm an immigrant to the USA) and in light of the president's war on immigrants (us and them) I slipped the double-sided card below into the pocket of the bath robe with "Them" on its back. Nobody gets hurt, I inadvertently get into the permanent collection — until of course it's discovered, which I'm assuming might take some time. Here's the card with texts from both sides.

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