Gillick Chapter 8

From Paradise

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S.R.: Now I`m coming with another question that you already touched. Now you can answer it again in a different context. What is your aim or your goal with your practice? Is it possible to say something like that?

L.G.: To a certain extent I do think that the artist is... - I mean to a certain extent it has this research-component, that... Like someone working in physics – things that have been discussed historically, the idea of the audience for art is about the same as the audience for theoretical physics. In fact it's much broader than that. It`s much bigger than the audience for theoretical physics now. But to a certain extent I view it like that. It's a research activity alongside many others, often more relevant than many others. I do strongly believe in this rather possibly simplistic idea that an art education, in fact for everyone, is incredibly important. I think you see this in a lot of the things that surround us. Even in the issue in the last election about how to design of a ballot paper, a voting paper being not thought through – that's a direct result of there being a very bad art education. Because you wouldn't get bad ballot papers if you had a serious art education. So I do... - Part of it is a general belief in the idea of art or aesthetic consideration, thinking about the visual environment being very important, and me just being a rather introverted version of that. That`s definitely one part of it. I think that's about it. I`m not thinking very hard about... - I`m very sceptical about the potential... - You know I have a very fragmented... - I don`t have a very precise kind of position about... - in terms of a singular position. A lot of it is kind of negotiated. At the moment I'm working a lot in America, in the United States, so I'm having to re-assess a lot of my thinking about things because I'm often alone. Suddenly I've gone from a semi-collective environment, where I'm often with other artists and other people, to often being alone. You go somewhere and you are alone. You are invited alone. There is a strong cultural pressure to be alone. The people who support culture in America, when they support the idea of a museum or an art center inviting an artist, they want the artist. They don't want lots of artists at the same time, it's too complicated. I'm having to constantly re-assess what I think about that and how I might be prepared to proceed. The other thing that is very important to talk about are these semi-public, semi-private projects that I get involved in, like Kunst-am-Bau projects in a way. But some of them are a bit more... - They go from one extreme to the other, some of them are very socially oriented, some of them are entirely private. This for me is incredibly important; it's a dangerous territory because to a certain extent it has the illusion that you can be an interventionist. It`s the classic form of nuclear...- Someone brought up in the age of nuclear fear, like myself, often believed or used as a sychological trick as a child, of the idea to become an interventionist, to get inside the system and to kind of screw it form the inside. So when it came to the crunch you could shut everything down. A lot of people from Western Europe who grew up in the 60s, 70s and even the 80s grew up with this feeling that maybe it was worth kind of intervening at some level with this kind of complicated, powerful world to see if you could intervene. I'm not sure if it's possible but I'm playing some of these games and sometimes it's getting very close to not really working. So I have to see that`s something that`s very... - This is the question I'm currently asking. It`s about how close the artist can come to this moment of intervening, this kind of dialogue in power structures. When you are working doing projects for governments and for cities, for big law firms and for corporations, you are sitting with directors, with politicians, with these people. It`s what you do at that point. And of course they already have an inbuilt sense of what art signifies on me. I'm suddenly for the first time having to adress this idea what other people think artists represent within the culture, and it's a very complicated and new territory for me to play with. I`m not sure. I mean they told me a good anecdote which might be symbolic of this. And I was discussing that with a group of people about a project that I'm working on here. The last project they worked on was with someone what you would think of as a classic conceptual artist. And they said that in all of the meetings he didn't speak, and maybe I sometimes do it the other way round too much, I only speak. You couldn't get a better picture of two related yet different strategies. The person who thinks: It's not for me to speak, you are already wrong, it's already clear. And then my feeling that there might be some way to negotiate this corporate and cultural sphere. In some way I'm trying not to just let the work speak for itself because I'm not convinced that that is in itself a strong critical position, just to say, I don't speak, this is the work, you take it and you deal with it. The work itself would be an inherent critique. I'm not so convinced that that's always the case. I think I have to be an inherent critique too sometimes.

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