BUILD YOUR OWN ARTWORK
Participatory work including pre-built sets for the audience to interact with and take photos
From Brighton Based Visual Artist and Printmaker Moatzart
The research behind this project was made on the notion of the potentially exploitative nature of authorship in relational practices. This was based on the writings of Nicolas Bourriaud, Claire Bishop, Walter Benjamin, Kester Grant, and Michel Foucault. Walter Benjamin states in the Author as Producer that “a political tendency, however revolutionary it may seem, has a counterrevolutionary function so long as the writer feels his solidarity with the proletariat only in his attitudes, not as a producer." and that “What matters, therefore, is the exemplary character of production, which is able, first to induce other producers to produce, and, second, to put an improved apparatus at their disposal. And this apparatus is better, the more consumers it can turn into producers-that is readers or spectators into collaborators.”.
This is something that is similar work to the work I aim to make, such as in the practice of Rikrit Tiravanija, which doesn’t happen. While he ordinarily focuses in his practice on having the audience produce his work, and even refers to them as collaborators, as he functions as a leading figure in his theoretical field, this only propels his career further as he remains the author of the work. This leads to a power imbalance between him and the audience which produces his work by taking part, as he controls the conditions and the possible outcomes of the work, and profits from it. With this work, I aim to go against this, and simply construct an opportunity whose outcome I do not control. I also aim to then give a platform to the audience through the exhibition in my display of the work, as the photographs made by the public will be displayed with no mention of my name, but with the maker’s name and the title they give. What will, therefore, be public in the exhibition will be the work made by participants, with their details, and I will not profit from it further (nobody will know that I am the one who constructed the sets). Hopefully, then a better apparatus of the exhibition will be provided of using it as a platform for others’ voices and work, without them being in the position that I am in, of exhibiting work.
From a historical standpoint, this work relates to Duchamp’s Readymades, as well as Kurt Schwitters’ Merz sculptures, where objects become included in the work that takes the same importance as everything else in the painting (even paint). The elements of the work begin at a level playing field of importance, and some get more elevated per the participant, it is not me that makes that decision. Similarly, bringing found objects in an art setting relates to the Readymades. Some of Rauschenberg’s sculptures and installation are also an inspiration, with the difference that the audience will interact with my work (they, for example, must be able to sit on the chairs). Dali’s Mae West is another relevant reference, however, the difference from my work lies in the fact that the “set”/installation for Dali is the art, whereas I consider the art of this project to be the products made by participants.
The biggest inspiration for this project is the work of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm and his one-minute sculptures, where participants are given a chair or some props and are asked to follow the instructions to become a “sculpture”. My work differs not only in that the sets are much more elaborate and contain more elements (an active exhibition of his simply involves two buckets – one to stand in and one to place on your head), but also in that the public can choose the outcome of the photos. Also, I will not own the photos at the end and will therefore not be using them under my own name for exhibition (as he does), but will be crediting the participants themselves. Mike Nelson’s Coral Reed is a direct inspiration in the making of the final installation (the bar) as well as the decision to use masks as props. Spartacus Chetwynd’s work is work that I might consider in the future for these projects, as these sets could become more and more elaborate and I could experiment with an overall image of a similar circus.
The main inspiration for the kind of props I could use is Toilet Paper Magazine as well as Plastik Magazine. I am curious whether aesthetics can be controlled without controlling the outcome, and excited to see where creativity lies, as even though there is a limited supply of props (however large it may be), I expect that the participant can still have ultimate creative freedom, even as the props might suggest certain directions, they could also fully be negated and used differently than I can expect.
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