artist / participant
Ben Kinmont (Born 1963 Burlington, Vermont, USA) is interested in interpersonal communication as a means of addressing the problems of contemporary society. His sculptures and actions attempt to establish a direct, personal relationship between the artist and the viewer, using the work as a mediator. If art is supposed to be an agency of intellectual and emotional challenge, then the artist concludes that the audience should also be addressed beyond the institutional frame of the gallery and the museum, and that contact should be more direct. To that effect, Ben Kinmont goes on the street and engages in a dialogue with any passer-by who demonstrates interest in his proposals. His actions range from washing dishes in a museum restaurant, receiving strangers at his home, asking passers-by on the street about the possibility of considering a casual conversation a form of art. His sellable work is in the form of archive boxes each containing all the pertinent documentation of one of Kinmont’s actions. The collector becomes an archivist; as such he becomes responsible for updating the data thus continuing the work of the artist and the gallerist. Besides, the artist earns his living with an antiquarian bookselling business about food, wine and domestic economy, considering this activity as a sculpture ‘the artwork is not the business itself, but the contribution to our cost of living.’ Kinmont’s practice also includes conducting research and publishing work about other artists under the name Antinomian Press.
Prospectus is a traveling series of presentations in which a selection of works from the past twenty-two years are exhibited and (re)activated. For each location, Kinmont has worked together with a different curator to conceptually develop the premise of the show. Each exhibition is intended to be different and to reflect each curator’s interest in the projects. The source material will include project descriptions and archives, past curated projects, publications from Antinomian Press and earlier sculptural objects.
Prospectus Amsterdam As initiator of the overall project, the exhibition at Kunstverein will concentrate on Kinmont’s complete archives – brought in their entirety to Amsterdam. A selection of five to seven works will be presented each week. Throughout the show the curators thus become archivists, handling the works/archives on view. Each of the projects on display will correspond to different aspects of Kinmont’s body of work and will operate as a starting point for a discussion. Besides functioning as a platform for exchange, the table on which the works are presented will also host Kunstverein’s office and storage for the rest of the archives.
Prospectus Amsterdam as part of a traveling survey of the work of Ben Kinmont