Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mark Clintberg | Not The One But There Is No One Else

Mark Clintberg's Sobey exhibition at the AGNS included this takeaway poster, presented on the floor as a stack, in the manner of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Clintberg contributed to the book on Artists' Multiples that I co-edited last year, and his essay refers to Gonzalez-Torres giveaways, which he calls 'abducted multiples':

"The question of destinations is at the core of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ poster works and piles of candies. His posters are printed with text, photographs, or fields of colour, stacked to resemble minimalist blocks. His candy spills are hundreds of pounds of individually wrapped sweets. Both exist in a theoretically infinite edition. They are presented as gifts to viewers. The problem of scarcity rarely seems a practical issue with Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ multiples since institutions are contractually obliged to reproduce the posters or sweets into perpetuity. Because of this, one frame of interpretation that has frequently fueled an understanding of Gonzalez-Torres’ work involves the artist’s “generosity,” particularly since a second component of many of the artist’s works permits curators or collectors to alter the installation parameters of the work according to whim or necessity. Due to these characteristics, his artworks are often regarded as benevolent, harmonious gestures, as elastic and suggestible as the parameters of their installation.  The success of this practice relies on the understanding that giving transcends boundaries of race, class, and sexuality as an ameliorative gesture.  Without the preconception that giving is inherently good, Gonzalez-Torres’ multiples might not survive the institution. His work provides a conduit by which institutions can express their involvement with communities, and gesture thanks to stakeholders through the sheer limitlessness of the multiples’ supply. "

Previously he had written his thesis on the subject, which can be read here, and a short video of the artist (filmed at what looks to be at the Banff Centre) discussing Torres in Venice is here.

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