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Abstract Possible

Abstract Possible

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In a conversation during the installation of the show at Museo Tamayo, Maria Lind explains her growing interest on the show.

Maria Lind: Well, my interest in abstraction has been an ongoing one in the sense that I’ve observed an interest among artists in abstraction for more than a decade. And I wanted to delve into it a little bit more when in my mind this use of formal abstraction, in contemporary art, could be connected with what we could think about as economic abstraction in culture at large in society more broadly and also with what I’ve talked about as the withdrawal strategies, abstrahere to withdrawal, which I think is very much felt within the field of cultural production, more generally speaking. I drafted a project for CCS Bard, where I used to work, which was not accepted, so I just kept the idea and I was approached by the Konsthall in Malmö for a project in their project space and I saw this as the ideal starting point for something that could evolve over time. I am more and more interested in working on projects that allow myself and others to spend more time with the material, to do research, to have conversations, to write, explore in other ways, the material at hand, or the question at hand. So eventually, when I was invited to do other things and other places I connected those invitations into the project Abstract Possible and possible is to think about projecting forward it’s an interest in thinking about the future rather than, as is so common today in our society, to look back, to be involved with this culture of commemoration which is going on. The Malmö version, the full title of which was Abstract Possible the trailer, took place in a very small project place of the Konsthall, so in the terms of size it couldn’t be very big, but I still wanted it to contain seeds of the main strands that I could, at that point, foresee within the project, which are the three strands that I am now elaborating, which is: formal abstraction, economic abstraction and withdrawal strategies. So they were all part of that show through the work of: Goldin+Senneby, Mai-Thu Perret, Claire Barclay, Doug Ashford, and Wade Guyton. And those five artists also have worked in this second iteration whose full title is: Abstract Possible the Tamayo Take, and then eventually I think the coming manifestations will have other subtitles and they will also be different, not necessarily big group exhibitions, like this one. The project does not have a hypothesis other than the observation that there is a lot of abstraction going on, in and around contemporary art, now, and that is the starting point and the imputes and that is what I want to explore in varies ways and it’s important that it’s an implied former research, it’s not only bookish research, it’s not just looking at old art, it’s not only about reading books on the subjects, but it’s about testing things in the flash, by staging them in exhibiting spaces, in seminar rooms, in books, on websites, etc. It is contained in the sense that all the work sits within the exhibition space itself, some of them like Ultra-red workshops may venture out but will also then come back. It was to do with the idea of the hermetic, of the withdrawn, something that stays within its limits, within itself determent boundaries. And I personally very much enjoy the kind of intensity that an exhibition space can offer, if you orchestrate it well, it can be magical and the work can start to communicate with each other but hopefully here they will also turn away from each other, they will be mute, they will not want to be constructive as it were, but to do something rather different. Ideally I would like each part to take off in its own direction and maybe kick off a snowball that is rolling some place, that I’m neither in control of nor aware of, necessarily.

You could actually look at the last twenty years of art through two lenses, one is the documentary and one is the abstract. Particularly, the documentary has become known for wanting to touch the real, wanting to address real conditions, knowing the difficulties involved in terms of authenticity, in terms of directness, etc. but not giving up the need and the necessity to keep on prodding those very real conditions. What I find important with a lot of documentary practices that they are precisely trying to move away from the transparency parading it’s not a one to one relationship but its documentary practices that complicate, that elaborate, the means of representation, that really want to work on the articulation and take that into consideration and make it part of the work. The other strand, the abstraction one, does so, but in a more easily identifiable way, because you have a visual language that is not figurative.

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