During the weekend ‘Unseen’ and ‘Amsterdam Drawing 2012’, two large art fairs open in Amsterdam, Rijksakademie artist and resident Pawel Kruk shows with ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESS that art works can be purchased outside the framework of the art market as well. Kruk curated an exhibition of illegitimately obtained artworks at Magazijn, a living room project space by Gijs Stork. Instead of a formal text with the artwork’s title, year and price, the works are presented here with confessions of the owners. None of them paid money for the artworks, the value of these objects however is expressed in the personal stories of their (anonymous) collectors.
On the ceiling of Magazijn a film of a zeppelin by Yael Bartana is projected. Since the movie was the gallery director’s least favourite Bartana work, she had hidden the work in the gallery basement. The gallery assistant, who was later fired for an obscure reason, took the work home and gave it to the current owner.
A wooden panel with the graffiti text reading ‘I’m sorry but it felt right’ from artist Laser 3.14 was found in the streets of Amsterdam, while the owner of the painting by Paulina Olowska (‘Untitled’, 2007) describes him/herself as “an art forager” who happened to find the painting at the art academy where Olowska graduated. An intern at the studio of Miroslaw Balka accidently washed his hands with one of the soaps of Balka’s sculptures, that accidently ended up in one of his pockets.
During the exhibition Kruk is available at Magazijn for answering questions and causing more confusion. “Did you see the Matthew Barney work?”, Kruk asks me. According to Kruk, Barney’s statue was (supposedly) installed in the cabinet “because the white goes very well with the white of the other statues”. The nameplate of the work of David Hammons expresses ‘Fuck Off!’, the message the collector sent to Kruk when he refused to give permission to include the work in the show, while the work of Tino Sehgal is not there yet, “but expected to be around soon…”.
ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESS is based on the concept of the exhibition with the same title in San Francisco organised in Gallery Will Brown in January 2012, which was specifically invented for the occasion. Kruk presents the poster of this show as a framed art object, attributed to artist Will Brown, and copied the pink design and the font for the poster of his own exhibition. While the show in San Francisco and the show in Amsterdam share the same concept, both shows can be seen as separate entities having one artist in common: Sol LeWitt. In the corner of Magazijn, a slide show presents LeWitt’s wall drawings at Museo Madre at Naples to which the new owner added an extra line.
This form of repetition, re-enacting performances and repeating concepts of other artists in a different setting and situation is a central aspect in Kruk’s work. For the exhibition ‘Three artists walk into a bar’ (2012), Kruk performed Cezary Bodzianowski’s ‘1001 Trifles’ in front of the Amsterdam Anne Frank Museum. During the opening of ‘Yes We Are Open’ (2012), an exhibition at the Netherlands Media Art Institute, Kruk unexpectedly re-enacted an outrage of Mike Tyson. Not only do these works deal with the topic of originality and ownership, which in the case of ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESS are questioned on various levels, they moreover raise uncertainty about what we expect to be art or work and what we expect to be an artist. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Kruk for ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESS specifically curated conceptual and performance artists whose work and methods already question the myth of the artist and the artwork.
By hardly announcing performances, explaining or documenting his works, Kruk’s works leave you (uncomfortably) uncertain of what you’ve actually experienced. But in the case of ILLEGITIMATE BUSINESS, when the conventional art framework falls apart (the living room becomes a gallery, the artist becomes a curator, the artwork becomes a story and the collector a criminal) the possibilities for the spectator are unlimited. I took home the Barney.
Text and photo’s by www.tessaverheul.nl
Magazijn, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 153, Amsterdam http://www.magazijn153.nl/
September 20 – October 14
Opening Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 2-5pm
With works by Marina Abramovic, Miroslaw Balka, Matthew Barney, Olaf Breuning, Oskar Dawicki, David Hammons, Colter Jacobsen, Edward Krasinski, Sol LeWitt, Paulina Olowska, Wilhelm Sasnal, Tino Seghal, Monika Sosnowska and Laser 3.14