Gillick Chapter 3

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S.R.: So I resume that your totally widespread practice - like it is written you are a designer, a critic, an author, you produce a lot of things - is a result of this approach? You developed it out of it or did you start with a whole spectrum of practices?

L. G.: I think some of this is a question of this idea of cultural permission, meaning the people, the strategies that influenced you. I think that while some of the people I talked to quite a lot or have done over the past 15 years like Lawrence Weiner, for them it was often very important to create a protective umbrella, rhetorically, which could project into the future, under which they could work and be protected yet still deal with many issues within the society. I think I was much more influenced by the developments in social theory that you could argue are less... - They are in a classical historical sense more secondary to the main thrust of late modernist practice. This question of design for example is not... - My interest was never in the idea of taking on the role of someone else. So the idea of the community of design is has to do with adressing aspects within the kind of visual environment if you like that traditionally had been gendered that had been seen as not a serious kind of thing for an artist to adress. And these histories were relatively recent, and they were playing out, even while I was at artschool, there would be a very strong feminist group that would be powerfully sensing or attempting to critique work that was being made in a way that you don't get the same groupings now. It is because even at that point in the mid 80s, tutors and teachers and lecturers would use terms like designy or decorative as negative critiques. So my interest in design comes from a desire to try to be involved in an area which I was always turned away from and told it was not serious. Yet it affects so much about what we do; the idea of ignoring it seemed crazy to me. Now in the light of the 90s this seems like normal and since we know so many kind of artists that did this thing. For me it was an ideological decision; it was to do with an issue about claiming territories, and as an artist of a certain background und a certain kind of upbringing about making it my business to complicate the things that I'm allowed to play with, and that is a very significant difference from the idea of saying... - It is not the same as saying an artist is just like another person alongside these other people who can work in this collective community of designers and artists and musicians. I was never really part of that thinking but it has much more to do with... - I have never claimed those positions. I happen to have used some of those strategies within my work; very instructive things. When I did the Turner Prize in Britain there was one big, formalistic structure in the ceiling but I also displayed a lot of this work that I see as equally important which has to do with designing a logo for an exhibition, working on new entry systems for public houses in Brussels or doing a book-design instead of putting a work into a show and these kind of things. Almost all of this work was completely ignored in the mainstream press. It was as if it wasn't there, it became absent because it didn't fit the story of the idea of the artist, and that reminded me even further how important it is for me to make the borders of the activity fluid and to continue this process of looking at these territories which are just alongside art. These are the things that are very interesting for me. I`m very interested in these kind of closely related border areas.


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