Session 2: Institutional Time: Facts and Fictions

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Artist-run practices
Artist-run spaces
Artist-run spaces history
Experimental practices
Institutional critique
Countercultural movements

During its co-emergence with countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s, artist-run initiatives in North America provided a space for the presentation and legitimization of experimental work and for the assertion of socially progressive and politically radical ideas and questions. In making such spaces available, artist-run initiatives have operated alternately as flashpoints for heated debates and controversies as well as platforms for social understanding and reimagining for their audiences. Sites for both mythmaking and reality checking, artist-run initiatives have been fraught with contradictions and yet have offered rare opportunities for exercising artistic, social, and political potential. Inspired by the nuances and paradoxes of artist-run institution building, presenters in this session will reflect on incidents, whether fictional or factual, from the histories of artist-run initiatives to project foreseeable futures.


Session 2: Institutional Time: Facts and Fictions video documentation. With: Eva Weinmayr, Marie-Josée Jean, Walter Benjamin, Slavs and Tatars


Eva Weinmayr (Germany)

Weinmayr is a London-based artist known for work on Art in Ruins, the now defunct London-based art collective whose practice formed around iconoclastic efforts targeting the politics and economics of the art world. By enacting a reconstructed history of Art in Ruins through the use of non-actors and informal, improvised staging, Weinmayr has created occasions for the re-consideration of presumably forgotten or neglected events and ensembles. Weinmayr’s selected recent exhibitions include projects at MOT International (London), the 5th Berlin Biennale, Yama (Istanbul), Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Revolver Showroom (Frankfurt), and Kunstraum Munich. Invested in the behaviour of written and spoken language, Weinmayr’s work addresses systems for immediate communication and ranges from interactive readings and performances to publications and films as well as gallery based installations and activities. She has published several artists’ books and is the co-director of AND Publishing, a platform that explores print on demand technologies and publishes conceptually driven artists’ books. Together with Andrea Francke she is running The Piracy Project as part of AND Publishing’s programme.


Marie-Josée Jean (Canada)

Marie-Josée Jean presented a new work entitled The Unmaking of Art on behalf of “Walter Benjamin,” an anonymous artist from the former Yugoslavia known for projects such as Mondrian ’63-‘96 (1987), a 25 minute video featuring a Walter Benjamin impostor lecturing on the value of Mondrian copies in English with Serbo-Croatian subtitles. Previous iterations of The Unmaking of Art include a performance in Chinese at the Guangdong Times Museum (Guangzhou) and in English at the Arnolfini (Bristol).


"Walter Benjamin"

Walter Benjamin was an important philosopher and art theoretician best known for his work Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935). Many years after his tragic death (1940) he reappeared in public with the lecture Mondrian ’63 -‘96 organized 1986 by the Marxist Center in Ljubljana. The same lecture was filmed in English in 1987 and broadcasted on the Belgrade television. Since then he has has given interviews and published several articles on museums and art history. In September 2011 “Walter Benjamin” appeared in public with the lecture The Unmaking of Art held in Chinese at the Times Museum in Guangzhou. The same lecture, this time in English, was presented at the Arnolfini in Bristol.


Payam Sharifi, Slavs and Tatars (USA)

Slavs and Tatars is a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. The collective’s work spans several media, disciplines, and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low). Slavs and Tatars has published Kidnapping Mountains (Book Works, 2009), Love Me, Love Me Not: Changed Names (onestar press, 2010), and Molla Nasreddin: the magazine that would’ve, could’ve, should’ve (JRP Ringier, 2011). Their work has been exhibited at Salt, Istanbul, Tate Modern, the 10th Sharjah, 8th Mercosul, and 3rd Thessaloniki Biennials. After devoting the past five years primarily to two cycles of work, namely, a celebration of complexity in the Caucasus (Kidnapping Mountains, Molla Nasreddin, Hymns of No Resistance) and the unlikely heritage between Poland and Iran (Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz, 79.89.09, A Monobrow Manifesto), Slavs and Tatars have begun work on their third cycle, The Faculty of Substitution, on mystical protest and the revolutionary role of the sacred and syncretic. The new cycle of work includes contributions to group exhibitions — Reverse Joy at the GfZK, Leipzig, PrayWay at the New Museum Triennial, and Régions d’Être at the Asia Pacific Triennial–as well as solo engagements with Not Moscow Not Mecca at the Secession, Vienna, Khhhhhhh at Moravia Gallery, Brno , Beyonsense at MoMA, NY and, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.

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Iain Barbour, Brendan Prost, Institutions by Artists, Fillip, PAARC, ARCA.
Josh Olson
Darren Heroux
Ron Tran
Canada Council for the Arts
Heritage Canada Languages Support Program
British Columbia Arts Council
City of Vancouver
Simon Fraser University, School for the Contemporary Arts
Simon Fraser University Library
SFU Woodwards
Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts
Goethe Institut
Consulat général de France à Vancouver
Consulado-Geral do Brasil em Vancouver
Audain Gallery, SFU Woodwards
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver
Surrey Art Gallery
Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia