Iris Dressler: In one of our recent conversations, you described how the machinery of the bigger art institutions alienates the artists from their work to a certain extent. You put it more or less in the following way: the artist, arriving at the museum to install his or her works, is sent to luxury hotels, restaurants and bars, while an armada of professionals—technicians, restorers, architects, designers, coordinators, assistants and so forth—care for the ‘proper’ presentation and communication of his of her work, following the standards of the respective institution. This is not to mention that at this moment the curator and the PR and education departments have long since defined—again in line with the conventions of the respective house—the ways of mediating the artist’s works. The artist, finally arriving at the ‘ready-to-go’ exhibition, might be shocked, as he or she no longer recognises his or her work the way it is embodied in and absorbed by the corporate setting. But it is too late: the press, board, VIPs and the like are already standing by. These attitudes and workflows of the institutional machinery are of course not a new phenomenon if you just remember the cartoon-like diagram Average Day at the Museum by the MoMA from the 1940s. But it seems that until now museums in particular are largely ignoring over 40 years of ongoing and quite diverse practices as well as discourses of institutional critique. They instead basically submit themselves far too voluntarily to almost phantasmal political pressures regarding the museum’s city marketing and tourist impact, fixating on irrational growth in visitor numbers and pulling in lucrative and glamorous private corporations. In my view, these politically indoctrinated ‘missions’ of the museum (which go hand in hand with corporate demands) have nothing to do—as is often claimed—with the financial needs of museum maintenance. They are solely about putting the museum on a prestigious stage for business and politics. By this logic, the artist seems to be a sort of alien, a disruptive factor that needs to be sedated to fit in with the museum’s rhetoric.
Daniel G. Andújar: Artistic practice, as I conceive it, must be transformed into a form of ‘resistance’ against a model obstinately aimed at prevailing in a space of relations that is becoming more and more confused, normalised, globalised, hierarchical, diffused, standardised and so on. Our society, economy and culture are founded upon interests, values, institutions, and systems of representation that, in general terms, limit creativity, confiscate and manipulate the artist’s work and divert his energy toward sterile confrontation and discouragement.Read more →