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'Objects and Activities' by Ryan Cullen at Studio Picknick, Berlin

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Notes for a Performer / Viewer

I’d like to posit at the outset that it might not be productive to talk about this in relation to the classical differences between art categories—sculpture, painting, performance, environment, etc.—because ultimately people come to art with their own place on the spectrum of artistic orthodoxy. In a sense trying to move someone in that way would be as sacrosanct as trying to move someone’s place on the Kinsey scale. Categories also impose a finality on the states of things, excluding the idea that what became is also becoming, and could trounce its current media (it could also “transcend”, but that word‘s usage has slipped into the realm of describing auction prices, not aesthetic qualities). 

The staging here is key, but not a key. It is enzymatic. You will be the catalyst.

This is in fact a dress rehearsal, since the show on view here is in fact preliminary. It is slated to remain preliminary for the time being and most likely until the next ebb of the art world when cynicism is replaced with a new optimism, perhaps the second coming of Abstract Expressionism. The conceit here is that until the art object achieves an effect so moving that you in fact stand awe struck in front of it, turned like a saint towards a godly third person and delivered from things unto aesthetic providence, there will be no curtain call. There may be a displacement felt in the presence of the cutout given that it is so exemplary in its reaction. It, like the other black silhouettes culled from the archives of extras that fill visions of architects, is there to remind us of how to be good viewers. Be attentive; ask questions, point things out. Each one is an ideogram for good viewing practice; ranging from the casually impressed to the pensive and scholarly. While the endgame of this specific figure (he could be called the awestruck man) remains unlikely, it reminds us that while we look at the things looking at themselves we are for a moment within the ring. Being in the ring, as the whole lexicon of silhouettes demonstrates, requires choreography. In this case, as mentioned earlier, it is not productive to restrict those actions to the things done to painting, sculpture, etc. as each one has a different tempo. Ultimately, in some way, be observant of the protocols, for they are an important part of any viewing experience. 

20.1.18 — 10.2.18

Text by Eduardo Andres Alfonso

Photo by Trevor Good

Studio Picknick

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