December 2009, in conjunction with Southern Exposure’s Passive / Aggressive public intervention exhibition
Juried by Jeannene Przyblyski
Throughout the city WANTED posters have appeared in the search for a young artist named S.R. Kucharski. This artist is wanted for all types of trespasses: visual terrorism, image propaganda, bribing curators and gallery owners to further his career, as well as for inviting passersby to enter their own imagined description of what this artist has done. It is also requested that any sightings of this artist be reported to a listed toll-free number. The posters ask what one person could be truly wanted for, and also ask the public to participate and conspire to catch one single individual.
This project dares to ask, “What makes an artist (or any individual) famous?” Is it his trespasses against what is considered Art, and therefore expected of from art makers? Is it being “criminal” against the art establishment, against society? If you are a graffiti artist, for example, are you trespassing with illegal image making activities (society), or are you trespassing for making unaccepted imagery (ideas of non-art)? Is being famous dependent on someone else, in this case the idea of arts administrators pushing the artist into public consciousness, or is just simply enough to plaster images of a person and an idea into the public for mass consumption, aggressively forcing a popularity upon the artist?
The project sets up contradictions, as well as dilemmas: in the case of S.R. Kucharski, he is both wanted in a negative way for disturbing the arts establishment and precisely for this disturbance, because he is causing trouble (or the idea of it), and everyone likes a good show. People like a bad boy, now and then. He is concurrently wanted for serious crimes and then the most ridiculous things, for example: visual terrorism and forgetfulness combined. And, what is visual terrorism? Could it be printing a poster, and of himself of all things, and then posting this image all over one city in the name of art? This project also touches on our interpretations of an individual simply by his appearance: in the case of S.R. Kucharski, his picture relates more to a mug shot or police file than to a press photo. If someone fits a visual profile for criminality, would you have the ability to not consider him dangerous? Do you passively walk-on-by this warning in poster form, or do you aggressively involve yourself within the capture?
Open Issues is a zine dedicated to fostering discussions with artists, about art/culture/society, recorded within one hours time. It is a collection of conversations, partially based on the artist’s work, but also on themes, with an idea to put all the interviews together, showing the different voices, but maybe also showing that they share some same perspective, and that these methods and creative processes are things I think are important to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, as well as important to all artists in relation to contemporary art practice. The zine is called Open Issues, because that is how I feel about these conversations—the voices of these artists aren’t giving you any sort of answer or solutions, only showing you that there are some out there…
Open Issues number three: March-April 2006
Themes: The interior (exhibition) space used to address the exterior (social/physical) space, or vice versa; identifying and utilizing aesthetics of the exhibition space versus aestheticising the exhibition space (including “space within space” or complete denial of the exhibition space); identifying a Berlin-Rotterdam connection: how outsiders can apply a certain awareness to the contemporary issues and/or activate themselves through a place, a city.
Artists: Maarten Janssen, Lucas Lenglet, Susanne Kriemann, Bettina Carl, Christine Rusche, Jack Segbars
Download Open Issues number three in PDF format.
Open Issues number two: April-May 2005
Themes: Giving it away for free—art and ideas as public property; the Mobile, Transnational and Interstellar Artist; the wish for longevity (and for one’s own work).
Artists: Harmen de Hoop, Maziar Afrassiabi, Jetske de Boer, Marc Bijl, Arend Roelink, Nicoline van Harskamp
Download Open Issues number two in PDF format.
Open Issues number one: April-May 2004
Themes: Artist Duos or Teams, the Group in Art, redifining terms of the new in art practice.
Artists: Libia Pérez de Siles de Castro and Ólafur Árni Ólafsson, Bik van der Pol, Jan Adriaans, InnBetween, Wietse Eeken, Jennifer Stillwell and Amanda Ross-Ho
Download Open Issues number one in PDF format.
Signature of the City for Cut for Purpose, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Feb.–Apr. 2006, Rotterdam, NL.
SIGNATURE OF THE CITY
by S.R. Kucharski
March – April 2006, Straatgalerie, Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, Netherlands
One overlooked public project in Rotterdam is the Walk of Fame that extends from the Maritiem Museum to the Golden Tulip Hotel near the Erasmusbrug. This section of street contains a varied assortment of signatures in concrete from famous actors, musicians, artists and others (and their hand/foot prints) who have visited the city of Rotterdam and/or performed here. This “act” of recording the presence of the artist by recording their signature and embedding it in the ground is one small method of embedding importance into the relationship between Rotterdam as a city and the visual/music arts. Looked at from a reverse angle, the artists themselves become part of the city through the presence of their signature, retaining a bit of “ownership” to the city itself.
The signature of the artist, itself, has been a subject of great debate within the Twentieth Century, as the idea of the individual genius artist has given way to collaboration/group actions/anonymity, as well as mistrust in the “art star.” In this debate over the importance of the act of the signature (the defining mark…), the artist’s signature not only determines the completion of a work of art, it can also determine the works validity (i.e., is this a real Rembrandt or not?). The artist’s signature has also at times become a “living” signature, denoting a genius associated with the hand that produces the signature (i.e., Picasso signing napkins at restaurants in order to pay the tab…truth or fiction?). These issues related to the artist’s signature are all part of a post-modern debate over originality and identity, but at the heart of the debate is the relationship between artist and artwork, which proceeds the relationship of the art to the exhibition space, and the further relationship of the exhibition space to viewer. The signature, the act of signing, denotes the moment in which the art, artist, exhibition space and viewer begin upon a path of experience. The artist’s signature continues to provide a certain proof and security. At the most basic level, the signature shows “this is mine, I made this.” And, within other walks of life, the signature is what seals the contract.
It S.R. Kucharski’ intent to utilize this situation of signing/creating and placing/removing to create a “contract” between the new Straatgalerij and the Rotterdam public, to make a recording in both signature and image of the metropolitan character of a city. Under the intentions behind the initiation of the Straatgalerij (to create a new art-space that is attempting to reduce the separation between gallery/public space and inside/outside art-manifestations), the project being proposed titled Signature of the City will become a reflection of the people of the city of Rotterdam (and beyond…), as well as presenting the question: who owns this place/space, the artist, the viewer, the museum, and if the act of signing the “work of art” denotes ownership, can this place, the Straatgalerij, be a collaboration by all for all?
The action of signing and cutting-away in Signature of the City also shows an alternative aspect to the solidity of an exhibition space: making holes, giving it away for free, not keeping the viewer at a distance. The simple act of a signature becomes the first act of exchange for the Straatgalerij and the people of the city, facilitated by S.R. Kucharski in a site-specific interaction with the public within the gallery space over the duration of the exhibit Cut For Purpose.
Watch a video slide show of the work: Signature of the City. (12mb .m4v file)