Buren Chapter 2

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S.R. [...] If we take the text - I think it's in French, »attention« from 1969 ... // D.B. »Mise en guarde«// S.R. »Mise en guarde« [...] where you took all the different aspects which already in 1969 were really critical aspects of conceptual art, and when we see a text like »limites/critiques« from 1970 [...] where you again said that it's important to have a look at the frame, at the canvas, and the whole system of representation, then I can understand that you have this very critical perspective on conceptual art.

D.B. Especially in the beginning [...] You first have to realize that the first exhibition under this title – and I think that was maybe the most interesting aspect of what was into the basket of conceptual art – was in fact all the people at the end of the 60s which were having – for the public, or for the art critic or for the organizer, or for the art world – absolutely no place. And what they were doing was something no one was able to say, this is a painting, this is a sculpture, this is ... ; so every artist of that time who did something with not a clear specification was absolutely bring inside such a title, and the first exhibition in '69, which was in Leverkusen "Concept Art" – the very first exhibition under this title – bring something like 80, 90 people from more or less all around the Western world, and inside these people you were having people who today for everyone will make no sense to put into conceptual art. For example Bob Ryman [...], Agnes Martin ... But at that time [...] Everything which was making not sense at all or not a clear sense was supposedly conceptual art. So no one should forget the beginning, the official beginning of many people being put together under this title. And that was immediately at that time that I was very suspicious about such category, and even in the text you refer to, I remember I wrote possible activity of so-called conceptual artists. Believe it or not, but when I wrote that, I make some possible works, and these works has been done later on by some of these artists. So today, if you read it you can put a name; at that time it was just coming from my head. Like: we will even see such or such a thing ... and later on they were done by so and so and so. But I was always very critical and very suspicious of the term; but then [...] also because of the variety, the interesting point was the fact that it was really the explosion of a new way to think about art, to work, to exhibit, to do something anywhere ... all these ideas, all these manifestations were of course almost never done before. When they were more or less done, it was like one individual 20 years before; it's always somebody before. But as an explosion, as a really new sensibility, I think that was the interesting point of this way to categorize people with no category.


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