August 29, 2009

Intermedia: a generation of artist's books, 1999-2009

O' is pleased to present the first appointment of the INTERMEDIA cycle on September 17; an exhibition of alternative artist's media conceived and curated by Giorgio Maffei along with Die Schachtel, O' and Christoph Schifferli.
Over forty years after the publication of the text “Intermedia” (February 1966) by Dick Higgins in “The Something Else Newsletter,” the curators of this exhibition have borrowed this title which best expresses the need of contemporary culture to 'shuffle the cards,' to break down the strict barriers between disciplines and to consider art and its expressive ways as one singular creative process. The history of 'alternative media' used by artists as an expressive means, equal to more traditional ones like painting and sculpture, conventionally started in the beginning of the nineteen seventies; a period in which the experiments of new poetry came together with the overcoming of pictorial material in conjunction with the development of certain social and cultural factors that determined the transformation of the artist's role and status.This period of maximum expansion of the 'consumer society' and diffusion of mass culture, saw the rise of cultural models which were taking the almost magical and elitist aura the artists had enjoyed until then away from them. Antagonistic society, with tendencies toward demolishing traditional behavior, tried to find a wider accessibility to art, a superimposition of the usual aesthetic categories that still made the division between 'fine arts' and 'applied arts' and the transformation of the inspired and solipsistic dimension of the artist-creator. In this climate, the art market was proposing the idea of the 'multiple' as an object for the masses and to spread the use of intermedia, that is the combination of techniques and expressions belonging to different linguistic spheres. Books and records are the most suitable instruments for taking on this transformation: agile, easy to produce, low cost and more than anything else, they are easily made available to a wide audience which spans class and geography. The artist takes on the whole intellectual and social responsibility of the creation, construction and distribution of the artwork.

The cycle of exhibitions is conceived through themes and segments. A subdivision which is as banal as it is useful to follow the parallel development that the book and the record (as well as video, cinema, theater, dance) have gone through compared to the traditional case study of artistic historiography. The first appointment of the cycle, “ 10 - a generation of artist's books, 1999-2009,” concentrates on the international production of the last decade, exhausting the concept of 'latest generation' and starting instead from the present, contemporary time eventually retracing this thread of history backwards. The exhibit offers, for the first time in Italy, a mapping of the publication of artist's books in the current decade through three parts: one structured around precise curatorial ideas and choices; one dedicated to the Zine Series from Nieves Editions in Z├╝rich, one of the most important independent publishers of artist books; and the third dedicated to the most diverse self-produced artists' publications, collected through direct invitations to the artists and available to be consulted by the public.
For the occasion, a catalogue will be published that will also collect all of the contributions received.

Opening Sept 17th, 2009 at 7pm – until Oct 9. Mon/Fri 3pm-7pm

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