Acconci Chapter 11

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S.R.: [...] I want to stress your kind of collaboration, your kind of maybe free collaboration. How did it start that you decided to work in a group or a collaborative model?

V.A.: That's a very significant question, because it is so different from the way I was working. There was a kind of transition period. Throughout the mid/ late 70s when I was doing installations, and early 80ies, necessarily other people were building projects for me, because remember I didn't know how to do anything. That's another thing to mention about Conceptual art. If it wasn't for the words Conceptual art, I would have had absolutely nothing to do. I would have had no place in art. I could only appear in art at a time when the words Conceptual art were used because at another time I would have to say: »I can't paint, I can't draw, I can't sculpt«. Once the words Conceptual art were used, I could say: I think I know how to have these ideas, so maybe there's a place for me. [...] Back to your question of the changeover. Once [...] in the 70ies where I thought that I should be doing something... I don't even know if in the beginning, I could say I wanted to be doing something like architecture. I knew I wanted to do something in a public space more than in the private space of a museum or a gallery. But I thought if I'm going to do something in a public space, I wonder if it can start from a private person. If something starts privately, does it end privately? I became convinced that in order to do something [...] that was going to result in a public space, it had to start with at least a small version of the public. It had to start with three people or more. One person is a solo. Two people are a mirror image, a couple, the third persons begins the plot, starts an argument. It was absolutely necessary to work with other people because the process of thinking had to be public, or at least semipublic as much as the actual work. If it was only my ideas it would probably end up as my space. If it's our ideas maybe then that »our« could be expanded. For me the studios works best when it's a mix of genders, a mix of nationalities, a mix of ages, because then all of us might be saying the same word, but we have totally different meanings because of our backgrounds. It's those totally different meanings that can make the work always be a little bit alive, have those loose ends. If we all have the same meaning we just make a finished circle. If we have different meanings then we have little jagged ends, little loose ends.


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