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"Mapping the Studio: Artists’ Relationships to Their Working Environments"
2006-05-12 until 2006-08-20
Stedelijk Museum
Amsterdam, , NL

The theme exhibition ‘Mapping the Studio’ reveals artists’ relationships to their working environment, the studio, concentrating on artworks produced between 1965 – 1975, when many artists left the isolation of the traditional studio. The exhibition centres on how the studio changed throughout this decade. How did artists of the time view the studio? What were their alternatives to the studio’s long-established seclusion? How did artists define their workspace against the political and social backdrop of the time? The exhibition also presents the work of a number of prominent contemporary artists with strong views on their own workspace, and artistic production inside and outside the studio.

One of the earliest and most crucial moments in the transformation of the studio are Bruce Nauman’s studio films (1967/1968). Nauman’s work clearly manifests the transfiguration of the studio from mythic ‘sanctuary’ to mundane workshop. A similar tendency is exhibited by Jan Dibbets who experimented with film and photography in his Amsterdam studio. Alongside his famous photographic pieces Perspective Corrections – My Studio the exhibition presents a previously unscreened 16mm film, Venetian Blinds that Dibbets made in his studio in 1971. While Nauman and Dibbets stripped the studio of its fabled aura, other artists considered it an archaic, outmoded site of production. Daniel Buren and Gordon Matta-Clark abandon the studio to undertake (temporary) projects in the city and Robert Smithson uses remote sites in the landscape as material and workplace. Some artists also invest their work with a social dimension. Martha Rosler and Mierle Laderman Ukeles define the studio in feminist terms by commenting on forms of women’s work typical of the day, such as unpaid labour in the home. Another trend was that of the collective. The exhibition presents various examples of artists’ living/working communities, from Andy Warhol’s The Factory and Gordon Matta-Clark's restaurant Food to Friedrichshof, the radical utopian commune of ‘Viennese Actionist’ Otto Mühl.

Besides the historical component, the exhibition displays work by contemporary artists Gregor Schneider, John Bock, Atelier Van Lieshout and Rirkrit Tiravanija & The Land Foundation. One of the rooms, Atelier, from Gregor Schneider’s Haus u r is on view. For Schneider, there are no bounds between his studio, his art and his personal life. Atelier Van Lieshout presents an elegant model of the Slave University (Female), a precinct of Slave City, a sinister utopia based on current theories on management, technology and efficiency. John Bock is exhibiting Salon de Béton, an absurdist video installation recorded in a concrete bunker in Berlin that he metamorphosed into a dimly lit, grotesque universe where everything is in perpetual motion. Bock came to international attention with his fantastical environments and theatrical performances in which he often collaborates with international actors. The Land Foundation is an example of a collective studio practice involving artists, students, farmers and craftsmen from Chiang Mai, Thailand. This alternative studio practice was set up at the end of the 1990s by Rirkrit Tiravanija and Kamin Lertchaiprasert. International artists such as Tobias Rehberger, Philippe Parreno and Superflex have been invited to work there for varying periods, realising architectural and utilitarian projects. Social interaction and a discussion are at the heart of the initiative. For ‘Mapping the Studio’ The Land Foundation has created a special project that covers documentation of their activities in Thailand, and involves a public debate scheduled for Thursday afternoon, 11 May.

The exhibition title is borrowed from the monumental video installation Mapping the Studio I – All Action Edit (Fat Chance John Cage) (2002) by Bruce Nauman. In the piece, which occupies a central position in the exhibition, Nauman records the nocturnal activity in his studio. Nauman, who at the end of the 1960’s described his own art practice as ‘hanging around in the studio’, has completely disappeared from the picture of this video installation.

‘Mapping the Studio’ presents work by: Atelier Van Lieshout, John Bock, Daniel Buren, Tacita Dean, Jan Dibbets, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman, Martha Rosler, Gregor Schneider, Gerry Schum, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Rirkrit Tiravanija and The Land Foundation, Andy Warhol.

John Bock
Salon de béton, 2005
Foto: Gert Jan van Rooij, Amsterdam

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