January 24, 2011 - Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA) - Liam Gillick and Lawrence Weiner’s Syntax of Dependency:
January 24, 2011

Liam Gillick and Lawrence Weiner’s Syntax of Dependency:

LIAM GILLICK AND LAWRENCE WEINER
A SYNTAX OF DEPENDENCY

Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp
Leuvenstraat 32
2000 Antwerp Belgium
T +32 (0)3 260 99 99
info [​at​] muhka.be

www.muhka.be

Lawrence Weiner: “You and I know each other pretty well. And you and I have started off on tons of projects that did not happen…” Liam Gillick: “That’s interesting, I think.”
Liam Gillick / Lawrence Weiner: Between Artists, 2006

For more than twenty years now, New York-based artists Liam Gillick and Lawrence Weiner, who each represent different aspects of, and/or strands within, (the complex interplay between) the conceptual, post-conceptual and neo-conceptual traditions in art, have engaged in an intense intellectual and artistic dialogue. In one of a number of conversations between both artists that has been published over the years, and from which the above quote was taken, however, they noted how this dialogue has so far ‘failed’ to produce concretely artistic results—and how that has been ‘interesting’ indeed.

This casual observation on an apparently long history of unrealized projects prompted M HKA to invite both artists to develop a project together in which their dialogue would finally be allowed to acquire material (and no longer merely discursive) form.

The resulting collaborative artwork, itself a reflection upon the limits as much as the potentialities of artistic collaboration, is a direct response to M HKA’s vast, quasi wall-less exhibition space, its scale and immersive quality an emphatic demonstration of the museum’s programmatic dedication to fostering a culture of dialogue—between generations, between artistic cultures and paradigms, between artistic autonomy and cultural heteronomy, between form and content, and between differing conceptions of art and artisthood. The artists’ commitment to exploring the many meanings and possibilities of the dialogical model in art is expressed in the title of the project (complete with orthographic anomaly)—the “syntax of dependency,” that is, that ties these two exemplary practices together.

More concretely, the project’s syntactic spirit blends Gillick’s signature modernist sensibility and feel for an aesthetic of application with Weiner’s command of language as a sculptural, i.e. material form, giving new depth to what could in essence be termed the materialism—as opposed to the mere materiality—of the signifier. A work with unique spatial and experiential features that prioritizes the horizontality of dialogue over the verticality of hierarchy, Gillick and Weiner’s Syntax of Dependency: thus resonates with the literalized rhetoric of the level playing field as an essential, defining feature of contemporary cultural production.

Liam Gillick and Lawrence Weiner's Syntax of Dependency:
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