In Always Available Dennis Buck has a straight forward take on our contemporary societal expectations, the constant availability. Very much in line with Buck’s reproduction of his phone number, address and name, Always Available is conceived as a site specific exhibition, the installation revolves around the limitations that constant availability presents. Contrasting between the unequivocal title is the inscription “10 AM — 6 PM”, the “opening hours” during which Buck is available, combined with the artist’s phone number. This is a new aspect in the artist’s practice, taking a distance from his earlier works, were contact was unrestricted, pushed forward to the extreme creating a practice mirroring the need for Buck to be available. Dennis Buck is still available, but now only reachable during working hours, not unlike those of a traditional business model.
The blurring between art and life, that one can find in Buck’s work draws a parallel to the recent essay by Josephin Berry, Art and (Bare) Life: A Biopolitical Inquiry (Sternberg Press, 2018), in which Berry draws on Foucault’s concept of biopower. For Foucault, biopower “describes the modern state’s policing of its citizens’ bodies” (Eastham, 2019), which Berry identifies with contemporary art being increasingly present in the everyday. Through the neo-liberal framework, the body of the artist is being “taken hostage”, at the service of the market. Beyond drawing a parallel, Buck’s practice offers a humorous and subtle critique of this merge between art and life in the days of zero hour work contracts and the requested full availability of the body. Questioning authorship, artist identity and artistic labour, Always Available regroups core themes present in the artist’s work but also witnesses a certain evolution in Buck’s practice, bringing the audience closer to the blurred reaches of art and life.