NOT MADE NOT CHOSEN NOT PRESENTED BY STUDIO FOR PROPOSITIONAL CINEMA
Many of the artists chosen by Studio for Propositional Cinema are familiar with Prini’s research, and this has informed their own practice. Josef Strau (b. 1957), for example, in 1993 restaged the photograph used by Prini in the 1971 work Monaco, and Christopher Williams has referenced Prini’s practice in his series of Exakta images, as well as in graphic works including the Model sign on display. In other artists’ work, synergies are implicit but no less relevant. Franz West (1947 - 2012), who met Prini in the early 1990s in Rome later made a small sculpture simply titled Emilio Prini.
The visibility of work and the conditions of its existence within the scenography of the exhibition, a key preoccupation in Arte Povera and Conceptualism, and later Institutional Critique, is palpable in the work of all of artists presented. In some, a further tension exists between the dematerialization of the work and its status as physical support, leading to instances where the physical occupation of volume is disguised through the mimicry of functional surfaces. This is present in Gaylen Gerber’s (1955 -) Support works, where the concept of the monochrome functions in collaborative relation to existing artworks and objects, both negating the reviving them and their authorship. Christopher Williams’s mobile walls, which use sculptural language to operate a particularly photographic reproductive gesture, express similar concerns.
Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo) (b. 1989) work examines the logical extreme of an object’s use value with an urgent political dimension; its production involves the de-commissioning of an active firearm. Cally Spooner’s (b. 1983) Early Research: Method presents a stack of performance scripts held down with paperweights made by casting the artist’s ear. Julia Scher (b. 1954), whose works dealing with surveillance has often operated on the margins of the exhibition context, taking over the surveillance and communication systems of the host institution, utilizes signage to quietly situate the exhibition with The Ecology of Visibility.
Studio for Propositional Cinema’s lexical structure NOT MADE NOT CHOSEN NOT PRESENTED, commissioned for this exhibition, is part of their ongoing project Focal Vocabulary Index. Under the conditions of sale, individual words enter into a co-licensing agreement for which the purchaser becomes a licensee with specific rights to subsequent use of their words within future textual works by the artist. The sale includes both the contract and the offset printing plate used to print it. In this particular work, the redundant space made by the repetition of the word NOT is used to print a new text about the work of Prini, which will also double as the exhibition’s publication.
The critique of language and its means of distribution, its subtle ambiguities and fraudulent neutrality was an innovative strategy pioneered by Emilio Prini and many of his contemporaries. Artistic manifestos, a prerogative of the modern avant-gardes, were critiqued and their pretensions challenged. Josef Strau’s (b. 1957) text “The Non-Productive Attitude” not only subverts the genre of the manifesto but also aligns itself closely to Prini’s position towards artmaking, with Strau writing that “the non-productive attitude should be seen as a refusal of production values, but not as a refusal of expression as such.” Irena Haiduk’s (b. 1982) Decapitation Index, begun in 2011, confounds the objectivity of news reporting, the factuality of art history and the spectacle of tabloid magazines. Emilio Prini, known for his elusiveness, becomes a real-life criminal in Haiduk’s narrative, in which the names of actual Serbian gang members from tabloid news are replaced with those of the artists exhibited in Harald Szeemann’s 1969 Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form.