Monday, May 30, 2016

Maria Eichhorn at Chisenhale

Maria Eichhorn, 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours (2016), Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2016. 

Art is collective cloud-based fantasy envisioned by the countless projecting its realm in which we all role-play our abstractions. When you begin to get into the material conditions of art things, of course, get hairy. The cloud space we envision is different from the dark recesses in the network of those hitting the pavement. Discussions of the material conditions are symbolic.
It is of course a privilege to be able to take time time off from work, (it is assumed staff will remain getting paid for this vacation although this is never specifically addressed (Lorey presents it as hypothetical) and the paid intern (trainee) actually completes his traineeship before the vacation but there might be a new trainee, but so all sorts of question) and - as is mentioned in the Eichorn's interview with staff, and further expounded by Lorey's essay on the infiltration of debt - art jobs permeate the very being of the worker and so the point is who even knows what a vacation is anymore, but at the very least no one was posting to facebook, instagram, or twitter, and emails are being deleted, but backup emails are provided.
But the whole question of work, privilege to be able to take time off, etc. remains in the symbolic and abstract realms. Nightmare artist Dan Colen once remarked that idol Dash Snow's heroic punk-tude was built upon the privilege of a trust fund, while Colen's aw-shucks background forced the polishing of objects we all hate because otherwise he would starve. Colen is telling this story, but it's symbolic, parable-like abstraction, and one is a legend and the other is despised. Even W.A.G.E. - mentioned in Chisenhale's publication - while talking about the grim mechanics of pay still mostly exists as a fantasy where things are fair, or fairer. Fraser's biennial essay self-examines as being part of the reviled 1% and cannot reconcile and thus cries. Everyone caroms off the material conditions. Artists aren't required to release their tax returns. No one knows that 60% of this blog was written in a car in a Big Box store's parking lot leeching wifi we didn't have. or who's curatorial lifestyle is funded by oil futures and not institutions, or if the difference is one of middle men.
The point is Chisenhale can do this because their funding comes from public and private funds and is not exactly tied to having the doors open for the showroom floor. Eichorn used the artists magic wand of artistry to divert those funds to this reprieve. 27% of which are public, taxpayer's.
"‘The public’ now floods the scene, but most of what they say will not be recorded. Out of the flood, however, bobs a vociferous new role, ‘the critics’, who will attempt to inflect the light of publicity and mediate between ‘the public’ and the artwork. ‘The critics’ have two masks readily at hand for this job, ‘the agent’ and ‘the provocateur’. Through one or other, or both at the same time, the hushed voice of ‘the public’ will be spoken over." - Stewart Martin in the catalog
Eichorn ultimately makes it opaque, a sign out front forbids entrance and we have all the tabula rasa visions of what those people are doing with all that free time and whose money where and maybe not being accountable is the real gift to them.