By David Catherall
Mirroring the range of ephemera and printed matter surrounding the periphery of exhibition making, publishing and artistic practices, Brussels-based MOREpublishers have presented the group show EXHIBITION to reflect their own activities of commissioning artists editions. Through employing a syntax of framing and formatting to both publishing and exhibiting, EXHIBITION demonstrates the consolidation of an exhibition or a publishing house as an image fragmenting and de-centralizing the various elements and components of printing, presenting specific works to animate a static potential of visual culture.
At the centre of EXHIBITION is a conversation based on the dependency of absence and publicity. Using the edited transcript Butlers for Butlers (a work in lieu of a press-release) between artist Michael Van Den Abeele and MOREpublishers as a guide, it contradicts the hierarchy between ‘servers’ as an allegory to institutional procedures : how image and text, exhibition and publication, presentation and documentation can potentially (or not) serve each other in a self-contained, self-referential system through surplus of dialogue.
Richard Venlet has painted the windows of Galerie Van Der Mieden, 2 Interventions in magazine “De Witte Raaf”, 1997-2011 ‘Witte Raaf N°66 March - April 1997’ and ‘Witte Raaf N°155, November - December 2011’. Windows painted white, delineating the perimeter and obscuring the interior and exterior views. Similar to the effects of an advertising light-box, conditioning ‘showroom aesthetics’ as a backdrop of opaque white emptiness, the exterior view emits the glow of subdued light source. Originally presented in 1997 as a documentary photograph historicized in the Belgian arts newspaper De Witte Raaf, (lit. The White Raven), the ‘new’ version distributes its past and current existence as both original and reproduction.
Using the ease of mass-production, Peter Lemmens’ […] And Annotated, For Example […] (xeroxed edit) (2011), alters the photocopier’s inherent objectivity. The copy bed is an engraved glass template which frames the re-production of the other artists catalogues as customised editions. This automatic-edition-making-machine signs and stamps them through the push of the ‘copy’ button- a self-serving instrument to simultaneously create and destroy originality and authorship.
Willem Oorebeek’s dot-screen-wall (2008) renders the blow-up of the ubiquitous dot as the primary element of mechanical printing. Following the logic of photographic enlargement, these dots are arranged as a wallpaper pattern to frame a blank cinema screen, subjecting cinematic experience to the language of interior decoration. Relying solely on the descriptive functions of spoken word, Lieven de Boeck’s vinyl LP Let’s go upstairs then… (2011) is a recording of the supplementary audio-tour of a previous exhibition. As a documentation of his artworks in their relation to physical architecture, visual reference is bypassed through a purely auditory account. The system of visual directions used in bookmaking (crop marks, colour bars, registration lines) are rendered semi-abstract in the collaborative overprint The Printer, May 27th, 2003 (2003), by Sylvie Eyberg & Valérie Mannaerts, Thierry de Duve, Saskia Gevaert. Experiencing a flaw in the accuracy of industrial manufacture, the excess of ink incurred during an error gone wrong during print registration overlaps pictorial and textual bleed in the production of their artists’ catalogue. The intended clarity and order of representational documentation is re-configured through arbitrary collage.
Throughout the visible and reductive renderings of ephemera-based material here, simulation is at the core– Steve van den Bosch’s … (no date), a digitally projected image of a blank ‘certificate of authenticity of the artwork,’ Pernille Kapper Williams’ Brussels 2011/2012 (2011), a framed announcement for a year long exhibition ‘by invitation only,’ yet with no physical address to go to, or Mark Luyten’s Cinéma (1995 -2004) (2011) poster advertising ‘Now Showing’ and ‘Running Continuously’ all serve to self-contain a time-lapse of idiosyncratic thought process.
The announcement card to EXHIBITION: “You got some work done today?” “Research!” documents a handwritten note-passing correspondence between two artists Nico Dockx and Joseph Grigley. Implying the imbalance of labour and leisure generating an economy of exchange, a compromise is always made- negotiating and justifying the relationship of production within the curatorial demands for explanation. It is here that the initial auto-referential aspects of EXHIBITION reveal their dependency. The absence and presence of various procedures, the printed matter, and the exhibition serve each other in a dialogue under continuous flux.