As an art critic I have for a very long time been concerned about all kinds of written statements accompanying art exhibitions. In our post-conceptual area written descriptions and declarations more often than not dominate the art arena, at the expense of visual sensibility.
As a critic I expect an art exhibition to be self-explanatory, as a viewer I expect the artist to be able to express what she seeks to articulate in a visual language, not having to explain herself in any kind of written document.
I see the need for written instructions to be a sign of deficiency, of the artist not being able to express herself visually.
I know artist statements have become fashion. And just as trends and fashion shifts, I really hope the artist-statement-trend soon will find itself to be out of date.
I want to see the show the way a viewer would see a show—with no inside information. I might ask, “What’s the material?” or “Which one came first?” Something simple, but I don’t want to hear at all what the artist thinks. And I’m not writing for the artist. I’m writing for the reader, and I want to tell the reader what I think.
An important thing for a critic is a kind of disinterest…I think the work of art, whatever form it takes, is the artist’s statement. And I don’t want secondary statement—
Of course the artist can also be a writer, but then the written work would be an integral part of the exhibition’s totality, and not understood as a kind of secondary explanatory document. It could for example look like this:
Chiharu Shiota, Love Letters, 2013, Installation, Size variabel, Courtesy ARNDT Berlin, Foto: Marek Kruszewski
A studio space is an intimate space, which puts the critic in an awkward position. You are no longer objective. It’s almost like hanging out in someone’s bedroom and thinking you can still be on their jury at trial.
– Christopher Bollen