7 Days – exhibition in progress. 2009
WIR gallery, Berlin
Art exhibitions usually start with an opening, which is often so crowded that it is impossible to appreciate any art pieces. After that day visitors come in, look at objects which are the result of a creative process and leave. Why is this creation process not also included in the exhibition space?
This project is a reflection on art exhibitions, or better said, it is an alternative to art exhibitions’ dynamic. The intention is to turn the gallery into a place where creation happens, rather than selecting some works that had been created somewhere else and storing them together in the same place. Since creation is a discursive act, during which a new reality is being set, I prefer to present the show as a growing dialog between artworks, so viewers can also follow that process.
7 DAYS is a work in progress about CREATION, a curatorial work that is also an artwork in the form of Gesamtkunstwerk.
The exhibition opens as an empty space. Like a choreography, every day one work is added/performed. Following Genesis each artist works on one of the events of the creation of the world. The set up is part of the exhibition, so that visitors can talk to the artists and witness how the show alters the gallery space day by day.
7 DAYS has also a false art critic, a person mixed within the public who should bring up a discussion of what an exhibition means, whether artists are creators or not, whether the works are artworks or not, etc. Viewers are then given the chance to give feedback on what they are seeing.
“The man will turn into God” Kazimir Malevich
More nuanced are Christian philosopher Emmanuel Mounier´s words, when he says: “The man has the vocation of turning into a God, but this is irreversibly forbidden for him, which turns his aspiration into a new source of displeasure.” Here we have a handful of artists who, freely interpreting the book of Genesis, turn themselves into God for a week.
If the Almighty shaped matter, the artist - in his effort to replace Him as an absolute creator - should proceed in the same way. But, how can we forget the differences between them? I mean that if God created Nature and Being based on nothing, the artist must divest himself of Being in order to arrive at the starting point: nothing. This brings to mind Malevich’s Suprematist paintings.
Accepting the artist as a creator, it is important to note that he has never been able to create something absolutely new, something that is based in, and comes from, nothing. He has never been able to create something different than God had created before. In fact, the artist of today seems to try to undermine any form of divine creation. It is as if art, since the irruption of the Avantgard in the early twentieth century, attempts to fight against natural forms.
Malevich observes that after having subjugated Nature to geometrical forms on his canvas for the last centuries, the artist has in the present two ways to handle it: confrontation or denial. To the first of them we could add “modifying” or “affecting” Nature, as in for example Land Art (Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty or some interventions of Christo and Jeanne-Claude), that push against Nature with the will to become creators, instead of being simple servants to someone else’s forms.
It is only God who has the right to rest after his work in order to contemplate what he has done as in “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Bosch. This God, in spite of giving himself some airs, observes his own creation, which is the real protagonist. The artist, quite the contrary, is not able to ever rest. He has to maintain a state of permanent activity, to avoid that himself or his work fall into oblivion.
The truth is that most of the artists involved in this project do not believe in the creationist theory nor in God. But, curiously, after having talked to them, I noted that they sympathized with God much more than, say, art critics. The artists do not realize that the Almighty is the greatest judge and critic. And they, who in a way were attempting to play God in this art exhbition, will have to answer for their acts in front of Him. Then we will see whom they prefer, because God is implacable and never wanted that man put Him into the shade.
André de Nils