press release

Göteborgs Konsthall is pleased to announce the opening of The Place of Art, a video installation by renowned artist, Esther Shalev-Gerz. The work is divided in separate but complementary parts shown in two places in Göteborg: Bergsjön Centrum (Rymdtorget’s shopping centre) and Göteborgs Konsthall.

In her project The Place of Art the artist Esther Shalev-Gerz brings the discussion about the relationship between art and context in touch with people’s everyday lives. The starting point for the project has been to consider the place of art in different traditions, as seen through the eyes of people with varying cultural backgrounds. The work is based on the contributions of 38 artists living in the district of Bergsjön in Göteborg, who have responded to the questions: How would you define art, and Where would you locate the place where it happens?

Thanks to the participation of these artists the project invokes personal visions about the place of art, linking actual situations with fictional ideas, and personal experiences with imagined or ideal circumstances. Memories and thoughts as to where art takes place in the participants’ cultures are related to their present lives and spaces. The project thus intertwines the past, the present and the future as well as different contexts and provides a basis for possible renegotiations.

In Bergsjön Centrum the installation includes a silent movie presenting the artists and their art definitions, listening to their own descriptions in the intimacy of their homes. Between the sequences, quotes about art are inserted from artists from all over the world – renowned as well as less so. The quotes are taken from the Parisian exhibition, Magicians de la Terre, which in 1989 sparked both praise and controversy for its post-colonial approach. In Göteborgs Konsthall the installation consists of the participants’ voices talking about their places of art together with four visual propositions for those imagined spaces. The proposed models relate to four different places: kitchen, studio, the culture house and the non-place.

By means of two exhibition venues for The Place of Art Esther Shalev-Gerz invites visitors actively to reconnect the viewpoints of the various participants and to contribute with their own. At the same time the voice of institutional authority as to what comprises art is silenced, being replaced by a range of linked spatial constructions and cultural domains and the creation of a platform for an ongoing investigation.

Participation is a central aspect of Esther Shalev-Gerz’s work and in this project the principle has been applied even at the level of organisation. From the start various art associations and institutions along with municipal departments and companies were involved in a special collaboration, thus providing yet another approach to a discussion of the relationship between art and place.

Esther Shalev-Gerz is internationally recognised for her seminal contributions to the field of art in the public realm and her consistent investigation into the nature of democracy, cultural memory and the politics of public space. For over 20 years her work has focused on interventions and projects in public space, taking the form of collaboration and exchange with the public. Esther Shalev-Gerz is based in Paris. Since 2003 she has been a professor at the Valand School of Fine Arts, University of Göteborg.

This autumn Esther Shalev-Gerz has also been participating in the group exhibition, Art Link at Göteborgs Konsthall, an exhibition with works by artists, all sharing the intention of involving and engaging us and having us examine more closely the society we live in, our own selves and our daily lives. The exhibition that runs parallell to The Place of Art consists of six works by seven artists who all in their various ways hope to stimulate people to participate actively in their projects. The works thus belong to the category known as ‘participatory art’, art with a social ambition focusing on processes and human relationships and situations rather than on the art object as such. The participating artists are: Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta Kalleinen, Annika Lundgren, Adrian Piper, Esther Shalev-Gerz, Superflex and Stephen Willats.



Esther Shalev-Gerz
The Place of Art