artists & participants
When one leaves home, the town you grew up in, to explore the world a profound change occurs. A distance from the past is set and can never be recovered. This allows a perspective on your previous experiences that can help you grow and expand as a person. It can also forever alienate you from who you were. It is a strange experience to return to these places, to see ones past locked into a cycle that you are no longer a part of, which didn't need you after all. For many artists this rite of passage becomes a starting point for examining the role of the 'outsider' or for thinking about time and place as the context for living and making work about. Their practice can address the old adage 'you can never go back' in a multiplicity of ways.
The art world has grown smaller in that the connections between people can seem direct and quick to points around the globe (if larger in terms of numbers participating). Home can be many things now-where your friends are, where a lover lives, where you may not live yourself most or all of the time - disconnected from traditional views of home, while equally changing the notion of 'away'. Email, the Internet, cellular phones, etc have changed the way we perceive any notions of distance. For many of us we are closer and feel more connected to people we may only actually meet up with a couple of times a year but talk to or email regularly. Relatively cheap flights (although it may not seem so sometimes when you are booking a flight) have made traveling for exhibitions commonplace and not just for the elite.
Sponsorship from institutions and governments, particularly in Europe, has enabled the artworld to increasingly become international and have led to a commonality in themes and perhaps in a 'look'. The sponsorship is, of course, about prestige for the sponsor but this has helped artists to define themselves in a much wider context and has increased the flow of ideas and the networking necessary to build upon each event to establish a wider audience. One can argue that this is a result of the conquest of Western capitalism and has led to a homogenization of art with the decline of regionalism, although perhaps the regional is now subtler than before rather than gone.
The movement of artists across geographical borders has become a significant trend in the work presented in any major city. Artists have always gravitated to cities where the action seemed to be but historically their expansion often was then limited to that location (except for the artstars of each epoch). Now it seems different. There are more artist run initiatives, which are often directed towards an international program, establishing contacts with like-minded groups and working in collaboration to bring art from around the world to their audience. This direction seems to me to be growing but is still trapped within the confines of the connections already established and needs to grow beyond this. We can only curate what we are aware of and that starts closest to 'home' i.e. Eurocentric and American art. It takes time and work to expand into other countries and language is always a barrier. But many of us are trying and it is just a matter of time.
This geographical movement can create a constantly shifting awareness of where the self is positioned psychologically, using the practice as a means to orientate and to understand their world. Perhaps it is only the notion of a base from which to explore the world which makes these artists identify anywhere as home and even then as only a transitory or temporary thing at that, using this island to enable them to swim out to the depths and back in relative safety.
Of course this does not apply to all artists but it does apply to a significant number and a growing one too. The unfixed and amorphous networks of friends, friends of friends, associates and others worldwide has led to a kind of 6 degrees of separation across all levels of career and across many nations. This is how spaces like Raid Projects function and that segment of the artworld is increasing its share of the pie. The question is whether this exhibition can raise important issues regarding what directions this may take artists in the future and if now we can see some commonality between these works. How are they linked and what differentiates them and can any forms of national identity still be applied to the work? In assembling these artists together the intention was to present an array of approaches which took nomadism, location, site and other relevant conceptual aspects as a core base for their work and to then juxtapose them to find these links and to highlight potential difference. The theme is proximity and distance using geographical and psychological metaphor to explore this.
The location of the show is split between 4 venues to incorporate the nature of the geography of Los Angeles itself- the need to find pockets of decentralized activity and to respond to this particular environment. In the context of the LA International, with artists and viewers coming from around the world
to this odd city I hope that this theme will cause the audience, both foreign and domestic, to not only pay more attention to the work because it is relevant to their situation as insiders/ outsiders but to recognize the importance of these artists who are the newest generation to try to see the world and their position within it in a context greater than nationalistic limitations. Free to engage with their cultural history without being straitjacketed by it, who see the similarities between people across borders rather than only the differences, they are the new nomads.
Max Presneill, Curator
Home and Away - A show in four venues
Kurator: Max Presneill
Orte: Raid Projects; Cherrydelosreyes; Solway Jones; The Latch
mit Jo Bruton, Ralf Brög, Eva Castringius, Christina Clar & Peter Jap Lim, Gustav Hellberg, Jan van der Ploeg, Katie Pratt, Sylvie Reno, Per Huttner, Deirdre King, Laurent Terras , Thomas Wildner, Nadine Christensen, Delphine Coindet, Hadleigh Averill, Peter Lamb, Marcos Lutyens & Heather Poon, Icelandic Love Corporation, Social Impact