A solo exhibition at the Intro Hall of the Rīga Arts Space, March 5 – April 9, 2011
As she thought about a loss of illusions in terms of art, the world and herself, the young artist Liena Bondare began to focus on mathematics. She took two quantities and compared them as if she were in school. That’s where she came up with the title for her exhibition: KUNST > EVERYDAY NOTHING. In other words, art is greater than the nothing of one’s daily experience. Is this instructive or provocative? The installation will feature green blackboards with chalk texts and drawings.
Kunst is the German word for “art.” Taken together with the ephemeral nature of chalk drawings and the fact that Liena’s art is close to the concept of social sculpture, this points to a very specific reference – the work of Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), who created conceptual icons by writing the equation “KUNST=KAPITAL” on a blackboard and, thus, expanding the concept of art to an influential principle that would strike a balance among power, money and the creative spirit.
When it comes to Beuys, who granted art a meaning in the future tense, how does he fit in with Liena Bondare, who speaks in the past tense (“I idealised art and thought that it was of therapeutic importance in human life.”)? And how the concept of inequality in her work is affected by the equation in Beuys’ work? Does KUNST (ART) represent the same thing in the formula of both artists?
“Art is of purpose in one sense and of no purpose at all in another,” says Liena Bondare. She wants to stage the exhibition after which nothing is left over at all, because she does not want to “pollute the world with things and energies” which, after a while, “will no longer be of importance.” In this particular project, the young Latvian artist borrowed the same view of art as the classicist of conceptualism, Beuys, once did. For both of them, it is of equal importance to link art and life in a specific relationship. For Beuys, however, this was a universal creative industry which manufactured the collective benefit from various manifestations, while for Bondare, on the contrary, it is a private strategy of devaluation in terms of returning to nothing – ensuring that an impulse that has been experienced through things has no consequences in the future. “It is far more therapeutic to forget than to store up things and allow them to become dusty,” claims the artist who, unlike Beuys, lives in an area when the understanding of progress or the movement toward a more complete condition is more likely to mean less than more. Concluding that there is “a great, great amount of art in the world,” Liena is disappointed about the fact that so little of it speaks to her personally. In other words, Bondare’s formula is one in which nothing can also be hidden on the other side – behind art (Kunst). Does it mean that inequality KUNST > EVERYDAY NOTHING thus become a formal trick?
“I identify myself with provocation. I pose questions for myself and for the audience: What is art? What is the everyday? What is noting? You can change the signs, you can attack an equals sign, but the questions do not disappear,” says the artist. And then she admits: “I’m scared of this theme.”
Liena Bondare claims that she is still in love with the technique of silk screening, but in this exhibition she has rejected it to look for new forms of expression. The exhibition KUNST > EVERYDAY NOTHING at the Rīga Arts Space is the second version of Liena Bondare’s work in using the Beuys formula to reinterpret the whole purpose of art. Her installation “KUNST = KAPITAL” was selected for the 15th graphic art triennial in Tallinn, “For Love Not Money.”
Inga Šteimane, curator
- Olav Velthuis “Imaginary Economics: Contemporary Artists and the World of big Money;”
- Jan Verwoert “The Boss: On the Unresolved Question of Authority in Joseph Beuys’ Oeuvre and Public Image;”
- The Art and Life of Yukio Mishima, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys;
- “Lo instante non ha tempo. El tempo si fa col moto dello instante, e l’instanti son termine del tempo. Il punto non ha parte. La linea e il transito del punto; e punti son termine della linea” Leonardo Da Vinci;
- Mors ultima linea rerum;
- Legere – to read, intellegere – to understand;
- “To be certain, art offers answers. Its strenght however, often lies in its unresolved problems;”
- Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein principles of montage.