The World Around Us

Alex Gawronski The World Around Us 1
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Alex Gawronski, The World Around Us, 2020

Artspace Studio 2.12, Sat Feb 8, 2020

Presented by Jelena Telecki

(Mdf, timber, mirrors – 3300 x 1200 x 1200 mm)

A parasitic architectural intervention inspired by an example from a local shopping mall. The work is designed to disappear within the studio context to become part of the surrounding architecture. At the same time, the work appears uncannily off-kilter within the studio situation: it belongs and doesn’t belong. The work complicates the assumption of sculpture’s commodifiability (as much as absolutely anything can potentially be turned into a commodity) by becoming intrinsically, inextricably wedded to the space. The emphasis now, amplified by the use of 360° mirrors, is the studio space itself and what occurs within it during an opening. Normally, the studio is distinctly, even uniquely, separated from the public sphere. ‘The world around us’ as artists is often an interior space, whether it’s a studio, office or some other type of introspective arena in which work is produced and object-orientated thinking occurs. Deflecting outwards onto the experience of the one-day-only opening, the piece emphasises that art is never autonomous in the sense of its aesthetic isolation, which at the same time is traditionally its most commodifiable aspect. And in that sense, the ‘function’ of the studio, while being private, is not too different from the predominant focus of the shopping centre – selling things. Of course, this is a simplification. But don’t shopping malls equally define their own type of functionally determined artless art? Moreover, the cheapness of the generic shopping experience (no matter how expensive it ends up) is nonetheless related in global terms, to the mass sale and circulation of elite aesthetic commodities commonly known as art. Only the artworld, regardless of how crassly commercial it has become by now at least within its upper echelons, will forever decry its absolute distinction from ‘base commerce’. Maybe Bordieu’s ‘commodity that isn’t one’ (ie. art) needs to rethink its own conditions, its own situation? Saying art is ‘just a commodity’ is clearly stupid. But in a global scenario beset by the obviously decimating idiocy of wall-to-wall financial capitalism, surely asking what else art is, or could become, is surely it’s real current challenge?

Written by alex gawronski

March 28, 2020 at 9:02 PM