alexei shulgin on Sat, 28 Nov 1998 16:34:03 +0100


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Syndicate: Re: congress revisited


Uwe Lewitzky wrote:
> 
> dear alexei
...
> dr. zeller is planning to publish a small publication about the
> congress and i would like to ask you to contribute the  text of your
> lecture  with your remarks / thoughts about the discussions / the
> problems and the whole event at the ifa.
...

dear uwe, 

i really enjoyed the conference.
here is my contribution to the forthcoming publication. please neglect
all possible associations with concrete people that might come to your
mind.

best,

a

-------------------------------------------

Hi dear,

our farewell hug doesn▓t come out of my mind. These conferences are
always too short to establish communication, and this particular one was
even shorter. So we probably should look for another one to continue.
Also - I might be around your city soon so let▓s hope we could spend
more time together.
What would you think about my next art project - to get married with
some Swiss woman and start to earn DM 2,500 a month as Swiss unemployed?
But speaking seriously - I am more and more ashamed to identify myself
as an artist - sometimes I have to do it when I am filling visa forms in
German Embassy. And this shame has become stronger after this
conference. And it▓s even more sad because all artists that were
presenting their works are actually very nice and smart people. They
understand a lot of things but are so tied to this "white box" discourse
of the art system and in most cases (with few exceptions - like the
cheese and cigar projects) don▓t think about not even creating new
contexts but looking for some other contexts. I have also found some
works secondary, repeating old projects of 70-s. Is it that artists are
so busy with production that they don▓t have time to learn about near
past? And what about curators - don▓t they have time as well? And all
this arty self-reference ... Another problem for me is that it all about
fun again. Art as part of fun culture...
But - despite of all this I found the conference very interesting
because it brought together people with energy, (ex-)marginal
(ex-)Eastern European artists who fight for their international
recognition. And what has become more clear to me that some people from
the institutionalized art world who feel bankruptcy of the system are
ready for changes. And it▓s good - art cannot exist without context and
just antagonism of artists and institutions can only be fruitful for the
short period - than it has to develop in some dialogue and cooperation.
Another thing is that artists are not ready - of course they are not
satisfied with current state of things (remember, one of them includes
written stories about his work in the body of the work itself. Very
smart - to make it once and not to explain again and again to stupid
curators) but they have to survive, feed their families, etc. It▓s
understandable but I think that art can▓t be a profession like for
example engineering because then you have to regularly supply marketable
product and all excitement is lost. 
Well I am writing these words and realise that it must be clear to many
people regardless to who they are and what they are - artists, critics,
professors or curators. So what we can do now is to expand an unformal
network - using existing infrastructures like kunsthalles, bars,
railroads and the internet - just in order to remain sane.

Hope to see you very soon - 

Alexei