Liška, a German born artist, creates work that explores the often tenuous relationship between consumer culture and the art market. Commercial galleries play a major role in the art industry, so what better place to host a dialog between market consumers and producers than the walls of his Berlin gallery, DUVE.
Research ‘n Motion is a show about painting – the phenomenological core of painting, pulled apart and reconstructed as a conceptual installation. Liška removes the material support of the painting, the blank canvas, and replaces it with the empty, neutral space of the gallery. The gallery space itself becomes an individual artwork.
A program of curated presentations and workshops runs for the duration of the six-week-long exhibition. Here, members of the public can contribute to the process of creation, transforming DUVE into a place of discussion and work. This gesture disrupts typical art market relationships – the artist is no longer the producer of the artwork, and anything that gets placed into the space becomes part of the artwork – and is part of the conceptual painting. The role of the consumer is inverted and by participating, the visitor becomes an active art producer.
To facilitate this ambitious use of gallery space, Liška has installed three large movable walls that rotate around a fixed axis. The walls act like a natural extension of the artist’s paintings; covered with thickly textured neon paint they are complimented with a stark array of black and white motifs. The mobility of the walls allows the spatial dimensions of the gallery to be manipulated to fit whatever desired purpose – from performance, to workshop, to viewing platform. Framing the installation is a subtle grey motif, skirting around the lower edge of gallery’s interior walls and cleverly referencing the frame, or stretcher, of a traditional painting. Peripheral to the installation hang the artist’s bold fluro paintings – a conceptual break, but perhaps a necessary market compromise.
During the course of the exhibition the activities in the space will be documented and pasted onto the rotating walls as a series of black and white photographs. This collage records the ephemeral nature of the public’s process of creation and contribution. Additionally a web cam streams the contents of the painting live onto the web – transposing its performative aspect into the online realm.
Gallery spaces are of course not just colonised by art buyers, as the majority of their visitors do not buy art. The market is only one contributor to the complex set of social relationships that make or break artists and by investing in cultural capital (in artistic research and experimentation) commercial galleries can continue to
ensure the success of their artists.
Text by Tomasz Kobialka
“Research ‘n Motion” runs until the 26th of October at DUVE Berlin.
24 hour live stream at www.duveberlin.com