ELECTRA presents a new series of commissions

ELECTRA presents a new series of commissions


Still from Carey Young
‘Uncertain Contract’, 2008, video

November 17, 2008

ELECTRA presents a new series of commissions



Offer & Exchange: Sites of Negotiation in Contemporary Art curated by Daniel McClean and Lisa Rosendahl is a series of site-specific commissions exploring the use of rules, instructions, contracts and performance in the contexts of contemporary art and the law. The project brings together individually commissioned art works appearing across a variety of exhibition sites over the next eighteen months, culminating in a publication which documents and contextualises the commissions (to be published by Ridinghouse, London in 2009).

Artists using legal contracts as artistic frameworks – including Maria Eichhorn, Jonathan Monk, Santiago Sierra, Superflex and Carey Young – have been invited to respond to one of the following key categories of ‘site’ where art is made visible by being exhibited, publicized, sold or collected:

i. the commercial gallery
ii. the corporate collection
iii. the art magazine
iv. the public institution
v. the private collection
vi. the auction house
vii. the art fair

In this context, ‘site’ is approached as a set of relations governing processes of negotiation. Engaging with the legacies of Conceptual art and Institutional Critique, each resulting commission reflects upon the specific aesthetic, social, economic and legal relations that govern the production and dissemination of art in these different sites of mediation.

The commissions use contracts and the specificity of legal language to express boundaries and construct frameworks for action, as well as to emphasize the existence of conflict, negotiation and value exchange within artistic production and consumption. In different ways, each commission articulates and appropriates the relationships between artist, artwork, viewer and exhibition site as a way of exploring the structures that condition them.

The project brings together a variety of exhibition sites with historically different functions in relation to the production and consumption of art within one conceptual framework as a way of engaging with the increasing dissolution of the boundaries between public and private and between commercial and ‘not for profit’ structures, in the contemporary art landscape.

The first commission in the series, Mutual Release, by Carey Young is a body of new work exploring contractual relationships in the context of the commercial gallery. By treating the law as an artistic medium, the artist allows viewers to experience the otherwise abstract space of the contract. Consisting of new print, text and video works, the exhibition develops the artist’s interest in legal structures, language and the performative. Working closely with a legal team specialising in media and intellectual property, Young has created a series of new works inviting the viewer to enter into contractual relationships based on viewing, owning and collecting art.

Carey Young has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally, with solo shows at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2007), Performa 05 Biennial (2005), at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2004) and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton & touring show (2001-2). Her work has appeared in numerous group shows including: A Short History of Performance Part II, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003); British Art Show 6, BALTIC, Newcastle & tour (2005-6); How to Improve the World, Hayward Gallery, London (2006); Moscow Biennale 2, Moscow (2007); Islands and Ghettoes, Heidelberger Kunstverein (2008), and the performance series Hey Hey Glossolalia, curated by Creative Time, staged in New York (May 2008). In 2009 she will have solo shows at The Power Plant, Toronto and the Museum of Contemporary Art St Louis. For more info on her work see www.careyyoung.com

Legal team: Robert Lands, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property & Media at London-based law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, and Dr. Jaime Stapleton, Associate Research Fellow at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.

Carey Young – Mutual Release
Dates: 20 November – 15 December 2008
Site: Thomas Dane Project Space
For more information please see www.electra-productions.com

FORTHCOMING: The second commission in the series is a new work by Santiago Sierra for the Insurance Group Hiscox, as part of their corporate collection, commencing 1 January 2009. Full details to be announced shortly.

Daniel McClean is a curator and practising lawyer specialising in art law, media and intellectual property law at Withers LLP (London and New York). Lisa Rosendahl is a curator and writer, and the Director of the Baltic Art Center – a production and residence centre for Nordic and international artists in Visby, Sweden.

ELECTRA is a UK-based contemporary art agency specialising in curating, commissioning and producing ambitious cross-disciplinary projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts. ELECTRA is funded by Arts Council England.



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November 17, 2008

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