ein|räumen      ARBEITEN IM MUSEUM                                           60 aktuelle Projekte in der Hamburger Kunsthalle

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T h e   P r o j e c t

moving|in
MUSEUM WORKS

20 October 2000 til 21 January 2001

 

   

As we bid farewell to the 20th century, the question as to what art is and what it could be not only
determines contemporary artistic production but also influences the working practices of the institutions
involved with the collection, study, assessment and presentation of art.

The exhibition moving|in is an attempt to explore the current situation, responding to a fundamental
change in the approach to art in the 20th century. Over the past decades many artists have become less
interested in the differentiation of traditional art forms, and more in the possibilities remaining open to art.
Increasingly this has involved reflecting on the art business itself, above all on the museum as an institution.
Artists have begun to examine the practices and processes of the art exhibition business, to intervene in
these processes and to investigate new areas of artistic activity.

Ever since Marcel Duchamp rejected retinal art, pushing back the boundaries of the art discourse with his
notion of the 'readymade', it has been common artistic practice to consider the subsystem of art as a factor
of political and social reality. Over the past decades many artists have abandoned the production of art
objects in favour of an exploration of the contextual nature of art.

The starting point for moving|in is provided by the pioneers of this critical approach to institutions,
artists who have already gained entry into the collection of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. moving|in pays
them their due respect. Works by Marcel Duchamp, George Maciunas, Claes Oldenburg, Ben Vautier,
Daniel Spoerri, Gordon Matta-Clark, Richard Artschwager and Blinky Palermo reflect artistic approaches
which have long-since become recognized historical positions of critical intervention.

moving|in looks back on a century of work by these critics of the art system while at the same time
opening a window onto current artistic discourse. Contemporary artists have been invited to respond to the
Hamburg Kunsthalle's actual museum practice. At their disposal is a 12000 m2 area of public space:
the three buildings which form the museum complex with all its associated historic references and current
functions.

moving|in goes against what is now common museum practice: to show special exhibitions separately
from the museum collection. It turns the museum with its diverse fields of activity into a place of discourse,
taking a critical approach to the implicit rules of the institution of art and, by association, to museum reality,
since the working practice of a museum is determined not only by art-historical research but also by its
legal framework, political interests, financial possibilities and staffing levels.

At issue are therefore not only the four functional pillars of the museum business: collection, preservation,
study and mediation, but also all other aspects of museum work: questions of ownership and terms of
acquisition, worthiness for collection and exclusion, archives and inventory, modes of classification and
cataloguing, canon and the formation of distinction, conservation and security, finance and administration,
building structure and legal form, principles of construction and deconstruction.

In moving|in the implicit rules of the art exhibition trade are analyzed in an attempt to sound out new
areas of artistic activity. The question as to what art is today can be answered only in a very immediate and
concrete way: in the form of an artistic response to the given institutional framework of possibilities. In this
exhibition artists are in a position to confront the existing, historically occupied space of the museum with
its current usage and practice, and through their actions try out new spheres of activity. The question as to
the conditional framework of possibilities for art is therefore dealt with not in a general sense, but rather in
a quite concrete manner.

The relationship between artistic and art historical practice is therefore one of mutual reference and
reciprocity, combining to expand the horizons of theoretical and practical museum work. What art is and
what it can be is after all not just a question of institutional rule-making, but also of the interpretation
of these rules.

moving|in enters into this experiment involving a wider form of museum practice. In close cooperation
between participating artists and museum staff, problematic areas will be discussed and contextual
relevance elaborated through dialogue, with the development of the project itself being conceived
as a process.