A sunny day in May this year, I met curator Hans Ulrich Obrist for the first time. Over an expensive espresso at Café de Flore, he asked me, in the true HUO spirit, about my unrealized projects. “November 2nd I turn 18”, I replied, “and my only birthday wish is to open my first ever art exhibition as a curator”.
I am proud to present EARLY WORKS, a one night exhibition honouring the early works in the early stages of 10 global & emerging artists, who create intuitively across mediums.
EARLY WORKS is an ongoing attempt to create a conversation around the early works, as an often glamorised term in the arts, being more about the important period of transitioning from being an aspiring artist to fitting into the forces of the art market and its systems. The early works of artists have always been considered as a sort of naive practice to investigate in retrospect after the artist’s success. Sometimes completely forgotten, hidden or even destroyed. They are too often approached with nostalgic emotions and offer the possibility to look at the artist development with the eye of the connoisseur, digging for significant elements that might justify later artistic maturity. EARLY WORKS represents a democratic, transparent and conscious present. Facilitates the featured artists in the early stages of their practices. And above all empowers the most crucial, vulnerable yet exciting point in an artist’s oeuvre.
A few months ago I arrived in Paris where I was invited to take part of the annual 89plus residency at the Google Arts & Culture Lab. It was an opportunity to explore the use of technology in my curatorial practice. Coming there, as a technology and engineering noob, I understood that I wanted to examine the very essence of Google; the democratization of information. I wanted to make the exhibition globally available, and this could happen online by creating a new access point. Together with one of Google Arts & Culture’s software engineers I started building a digital space that could extend the experience of the physical space. Just like how an event captured and shared on Instagram lives on forever, we needed to make sure that the exhibition could, not only be documented, but actually live on (and potentially develop) on the Internet. IRL + URL = the birth of www.89plus.com/EARLYWORKS – featuring a 360 degree animated online documentation of the show and a YouTube interview series with interviews with the artists. A URL extension, launched the same day as the IRL exhibition, that challenges the duration of an art show.
Elise By Olsen
Ethan Assouline, Niklas Binzberger, Thor Tao Hansen, Adrian Hidalgo, Dozie Kanu, Matias Kiil, Maria Pasenau, Adriana Ramić, Tabita Rezaire, Shana Sadeghi-Ray
Curated by Elise By Olsen
Photo by Claire Dorn