On the Conditions of Production, 2009

Inaugural event: Wednesday 28 October, 5pm

Curators Pierre Bal-Blanc (CAC Brétigny) and Katharina Schlieben (formerly Shedhalle, Zürich) introduce their practices. The conversations are the first in a series of public talks dealing with different aspects of the conditions of production for contemporary art.

The talks will be followed by food and a screening of the film Argument (1978) by Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall.


On the Conditions of Production

In 2009, BAC initiates the long term project On the Conditions of Production. The aim of the project is to establish a framework at BAC for hosting a range of different enquiries into the contemporary conditions for art production, made in collaboration with Swedish and international artists, curators and writers.

On the Conditions of Production will not follow a predetermined structural framework, but will define itself through the activities of its participants. A key feature of the project is to invite a smaller number of artists and cultural practitioners to engage long term with the emergent subject matter, as well as a wider circle of occasional guests, collaborators and partnering organisations. The project will include various phases of visibility and opaqueness articulated through different forms of research and presentation in accordance with the activities of its participants. Each part of the project will be conceived together with different partners.

The starting point for the project is both the changing Swedish and international contemporary art landscape, and BAC:s own history as an organisation for the production and mediation of contemporary art and its current phase of redefinition. At the centre of the enquiry lies the question of the effects of the increasingly dissolving boundaries between positions that historically have been seen as separate – such as public institutions and private interest, commerce and critique, process and product, artist and curator, and author and audience.

The aim of the project is to use BAC:s current phase of redevelopment as an opening to provide a platform for engaging with and thinking beyond the current frameworks for contemporary art production. The goal is to theoretically and practically test new ways of formulating the relationship between artistic process, art institution and society.

Pierre Bal-Blanc
Pierre Bal-Blanc is director of the Centre d’Art Contemporain – CAC Brétigny – near Paris, where he has carried out major solo exhibitions with David Lamelas, Teresa Margolles, Roman Ondák, Markus Schinwald, Santiago Sierra, Franz Erhard Walther, Clemens von Wedemeyer and Artur Żmijewski, among others. In his international travelling exhibition series La Monnaie Vivante/Living Currency he negotiates current and historical analyses of body and performative strategies in the visual arts.

Katharina Schlieben
Katharina Schlieben has worked together with Sønke Gau as the curatorial team for the Shedhalle (2004 – 2009, Teaching positions at various Swiss art academies. Regular publications in art journals and publications, current publications include „Spectacle, Pleasure Principle or the Carnivalesque“ (2008), and „Work to do! Self-organisation in precarious working conditions“ (2009).

(1978) 84 mins, colour, sound

“The twin principles of modernism and marketing: seeing fresh promise in familiar things”
Three male voices dissect one edition of The New York Times through a series of locked-off shots, revealing the prejudice and latent content of news and advertisements, reading images as texts and presenting text as an image. Fashion photographs are used as a starting point for a political investigation of news, advertising, and images of masculinity – while at the same time, the filmmakers reflect on their own position and the possibility of radical film practice. Influenced by both the American and European avant-gardes, notably Godard and Hollis Frampton, Argument is stylistically beautiful and relentless in its enquiry.
Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall’s legendary and provocative essay film Argument, was first screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1978, has been almost unseen for the last twenty years. LUX has now made a new High Definition restoration of the film, and its trenchant analysis of media ideology seems more pertinent than ever.

Argument appears courtesy of the artists and LUX London.