Alfredo Cramerotti is a writer and curator working across mass media, publishing, festivals and exhibition making. He lives in Llandudno, Wales, where he directs the contemporary art institution Mostyn. Upon invitation by Hubert Winter Gallery and in context of the project curated by_vienna he conceived an exhibition with works that adopt an oblique view to the financial mechanisms that govern our relations in life.
What is the main idea of the show entitled "On Being in the Middle" also with regard to the essay "Tomorrow Today" by Armen Avanessian that deals with art and capitalism and was serving as theoretical background for all curators and galleries involved in this year’s curated by_vienna project?
I only partially agree to Avanessian’s text, which questions art as currency by stating that art cannot be a critical tool to investigate capitalism, as it is its own currency. But to open a debate in this context it seemed interesting to me to ask, what currency means, and what the manifestation of it is. So the result is an exhibition that is based on three aspects I have derived from this questions. These are time, aesthetics, and research including the knowledge research leads to.
Do these aspects choreograph the show in a strict way?
No, I was more interested in creating certain points of tension than in creating a chronological or spatial narrative.
Danilo Correale, an artist from Naples currently living in New York, is represented with three works: a painting-installation, a series of works on paper and a video work.
With Danilo I worked already in the past for Manifesta 8. His work "Snake in the Tunnel" shown at Hubert Winter Gallery consists of seven glicee prints on watermarked paper. The colours of the papers refer to the colours of Euro banknotes. And the seemingly abstract motifs they include are actually the stylised illustrations of the fictional architectural prototypes, you can find on each bank note. In this work they are extrapolated, outlined and compressed. So we have the colour and the pattern of each Euro banknote, the aesthetic of money so to say. We see money reduced to its visual components. Correales video work "The Surface of My Eye Is Deeper than the Ocean" leads to another connotation of aesthetic. It’s the aesthetic of voyeurism. We get to see physical details, like fingernails, eyebrows, and the hair of people who rub of scratch cards. The work was filmed in a bet-shop and is based on a contract. Correale offered a certain amount of scratch-cards to the people entering the shop in exchange of allowing him filming them during the action of rubbing of the cards. Whatever sum they would win they could keep. The video transports their emotions, which range from tension, to excitement to frustration. The essence of the work is that all of our actions are in a way monetised.
Time economy is another aspect, which plays a role in the exhibition.
Yes, for example in the work "Timepiece" by Welsh artist David Garner. It is a very complex work including many references. The clock itself is from a redundant factory in Wales, and has been reconfigured so that the minute hand travels at the same speed, as would the second hand. On the clock-hands you can read quotes from the Charley-Chaplin- film "Modern Times", which was released in 1936 as a comment on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions many people faced during the Great Depression. The soundtrack again references the song "Ticky Tock" by American singer-songwriter and musician Woody Guthrie. Time marches too fast for some members of society. The lyrics reflect this condition.
There are further two digital prints by Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen on view. What can you tell about them?
I have talked about the cornerstones of the show: time, aesthetics and research. Johannessens work is based on research. In the work shown here she deals with two terms. One is "abstraction" the other one "expansion". The artist was analysing academic papers and counted how often these terms appeared in the field of finance and the one of physics. The aim of the work is to point out that the physics' theory of the expansion of the universe is adopted to explain the market theory. All this is based on facts, if you think of the circumstance that big companies hire physics to analyse the market behaviours. It is fascinating how these fields come across.
Have you dealt with questions regarding the intersection between art and capital before?
I published some essays on ideas that are related to that, for instance on time islands and space islands. I am pretty much interested in the way, how art can make systems, which are not related to art, understandable. This could be science, economy, geography or nature in general. Just to give an example: for the Venice Biennial in 2013 I did a project that was dealing with global warming. In fact it turned out as a big research project on global economy.
On Being in the Middle
curated by_ Alfredo Cramerotti
Artists: Danilo Correale, David Garner, Goldin + Senneby, James Lewis, Toril Johannessen
Galerie Hubert Winter, Breitegasse 7, 1070 Wien
More information www.galeriewinter.at
Read the text written by Armen Avanessian, which has been serving as theoretical basis for the curators and galleries involved in curated by_vienna: Tomorrow Today.
curated by_vienna is supported by Vienna Business Agency and its creative center departure.