Article Number: 6816
Soft Cover, English, 60 Pages, 2010, ISBN 0-916365-26-3
Nina Felshin

The Presence of Absence: New Installations

"The Presence of Absence: New Installations" is the exhibition catalalouge to the eponymous travelling exhibition and was followingly written by the show's curator Nina Felshin.

When an artist uses a conceptual form of art," wrote Sol Le Witt in a 1967 statement on conceptual art, "it means that all the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair." LeWitt and other conceptual artists often regarded the execution of a work of art as subordinate to its conceptualization. Execution became an activity that followed the creative process, one which sometimes could be accomplished by someone other than the artist. Execution could mean simply implementing the concept or, in the case of LeWitt and many of the Fluxus artists, interpreting it. In either case, the process of execution was regarded as an activity separate from that of creation.

The Presence of Absence does not intend to resurrect the 1960s' viewpoint that execution is less important than concept; it does, however provoke questions about conceptual art's relevance - both implicit comparison to the so-called neo-conceptual school, and by serving as a catalyst for new works that adapt and revise many of conceptual art's strategies. Execution is neither perfunctory nor unnecessary here, even though the exhibition excludes both artists and objects. Participating museums receive the artists' written instructions, diagrams, slides, and transparencies- but never the works of art themselves. These are created anew at each site by local artists, art students, or museum staff and cease to exist at the end of the presentation. None of the works requires the presence of the artist to be executed. None involves tangible, unique objects. Virtually all utilize the existing architecture of the exhibition space as their support.

Language: English