by Horror Sleaze Trash on May 23, 2012

GOODNIGHT TRAVEL WELL: the show itself is the artwork

{ths} asked peo­ple in dif­fer­ent coun­tries to be part of the project. As part of the art itself, those who accepted where “elected” to be cura­tors. Nice peo­ple I never met in per­son. Every cura­tor got an art­work from {ths}, send by mail (real mail, remem­ber?). Some where lost, some hit the ground.

Typ­i­cally art is dis­played inside gal­leries or in the streets (this is called “street art”). As much as I like the white walls of a gallery, I don’t like the lim­ited space, the com­mer­cial feel­ing inside those cold rooms. My idea of hav­ing a show in – for exam­ple– Tokyo is to have a show some­where inside Tokyo, not in a gallery, not in a pre­de­fined space that was made for show­ing art.

As part of the project the cura­tors had to pick a loca­tion in their county, plac­ing the art­work and take a photo of it. They could leave the art­work at place for other peo­ple to watch or just sell it, burn it, take it, whatever.

Those peo­ple aren’t gallery own­ers. The don’t have the expe­ri­ence pre­sent­ing art to peo­ple. So, the places they chose where more or less spe­cial. Some where selected dur­ing lunch, some where selected while shop­ping in a super­mar­ket, some where selected to show the beauty of their coun­try, some because they were located on a route from home to their work­place. Every­thing was pos­si­ble and I had no con­trol about the selec­tion.
In the spirit of my art, that was exactly what I was look­ing for. Things that hap­pen ran­domly or with­out your con­trol and you have to deal with it. Won­der­ful shit.

Oh yeah, we need to be con­form with the main­stream, and so those places where called “Gallery”. Ever heard of the “Gallery Waiana­panapa” in Hawaii or the “Gallery Nia­gara Fall ” in Canada? No? Because they just exist for a short moment in time. Just between the place­ment of the art­work and the cre­at­ing of a photograph.

Have the art­works and the short moment of the show avail­able for every­one, pho­tos from the gallery places where pub­lished into Google Maps. This is prob­a­bly the by far biggest exhi­bi­tion or let’s say that you need to travel a whole day to see another art­work of the show in real life.

The show took place at 14 dif­fer­ent loca­tions: France, Canada, Japan, Nether­lands, Greece, Aus­tralia, USA (Hawaii and Los Ange­les), Rus­sia, Nor­way, Brazil, Argentina, China and Turkey. 3 addi­tional art­works got some­how lost or never arrived their des­ti­na­tion: UK (Lon­don), Chile (Val­paraiso) and USA (New York City). Good­night travel well.

View the exhibition in its entirety here. (look out for HST’s contribution) and read the interview bellow with the man of the hour.

HST: Ola Tom! As always interested as all fuck to hear what you have been up to and it seems you have been a busy man, collaborating and exhibiting an art exhibition that cross over 7 countries, you must feel finally relieved to have the project finished and out there for the public to view?

THS: Oh yes, I’m happy that the project is finally released. It’s much organization from finding the people, communication, selecting artworks, sending stuff out, preparing things for the website and waiting for the curators… But at all it is much fewer work then having a single exhibition at one place. You can sit on your couch the whole time with your Laptop, drinking Champagne, eating potato chips, watching TV and stuff like that.

HST: This project is an insight into the changing world of how art is  displayed, do you miss the free beer and watching the faces of people react to your works?

THS: It’s like watching porn on the internet. Sure, you get excited, right? But, it’s a different feel compared to the real thing.

HST: you often speak about the “strange behavior” of gallery owners and representatives, can you give us some examples?

Oh, it’s a wonderful list of classic misbehavior on business (and non-business) relationships. For sure, it’s just a small amount of gallery owner who just don’tget it, you know that, right?

Over the last years I had fun with many representatives. Some of them where totally drug abused (hard stuff). And I learned that it’s not the exception that gallery owner sell your artworks AND sell you out. The best are Gallery owner who see their job in just placing your artwork in the gallery. Point. You have to take care for everything else. Shipping, etc. When the artworks get damaged or stolen – well thats life. Hey, I can rent a room too and placing a orang-utan in a suit there. At all I have the feeling that having your artworks in a gallery is a slowly dying thing. I don’t think that this is something that is important in the future anymore for artists. But who am I to know better?

But there are also gallery owner out there who really take care about your stuff, who LOVE and grapple with your artworks. They wanna sell your stuff, sure, but it’s not only for the selling it’s also the passion behind your work. For what I learned, there are just a few out there – the rest are badass.

HST: “Art is a business” – How do you feel about that, and how much does  it effect you and how you address your work?

THS: Art is a damn business. An artist needs to be a good salesman. I always felt, that I’m not the right man for doing “simple” things. Spray paint a stencil face on a piece of wood with a short line of text is not my style. I tried it, but it didn’t work for me. Not that this is bad (such stuff sells, I heard, and people like it) but it bores me because it doesn’t entertain me. I like to entertain the people. People told me that they discovered words or details in my artworks years later. I like that. But the most people are overwhelmed with those hidden layers of information at first sight. I create artworks that are abstract on first sight – “complicated” and definitely dirty. Every product, and art as also such a product, has the same problem. Probably it works like: the more shallow the better it sells.

HST: I [Ben John Smith] have had the pleasure of working with you before in this same style  of “internet” colaberation, do you think that this interaction could possibly bring a new genre of art. Cyber Colaberations and such?

THS: Probably not. The downside of my project was: you make no money and have a lot of costs. Some badass artists, who already had some experiences with galleries or street artists could say: “where is the difference?” Personally, I don’t care making no money with my art – beside that, I’m happy if I make some money, I’m not a rich dork, you know. But I know that for some artist, money is essential. And so, such cyber collaborations, costs a lot of money. Creating artworks and sending them out to a dozen of different places in the world, costs some bucks. And since you don’t get any money back because you don’t offer your artwork for selling, you have no income. So, every artist doing such collaborations has to think about what is more important: money or fame, hahaha.

HST: Any problems with the project? communication? losts works?

THS: Amazingly only one artwork was lost during transfer. Hell knows where it is now. Bad for the project, sure, but the question of where the artwork is right now, absolutely fascinates me. Was it lost on a plane, a ship or hold at the local post office? Taken by a postman? Nobody knows. You know the stories of mail that just reached its destination 20 years later? That would be great if that happen. When we speak about communication, it’s just the usual problems humankind suffers from, people who not calling back, hell knows also why not.

HST: i love the comparison you give the idea of leaving the work in places as if it was advertising.  When does art become advertising and vice versa?

THS: I don’t see any difference.

HST: Was there a certain apprehension in sending the work out knowing that it may be burned, lost, stolen etc?

THS: If the artwork got lost, it’s bad for the curators who are awaiting the artwork and it is never delivered. But I like the idea of artworks getting lost or burned down. The works existed in a short amount of time, so I like that a lot, because it somehow against those typical relationship between collector and the artwork. Having it forever, preserving it forever. Nobody can touch it, because it’s so valuable. That’s terrible. Ask me about streetart!

HST: Haha, What is it with streetart?

THS: Oh, I love streetart. Not because of the art, because of the transience and the weathering of the artwork. Everybody can touch it and the “destruction” of the artwork is part of itself – every streetartist knows, that this is intentionally.

HST: “The works existed in a short amount of time” is a beautiful idea, but being on the internet may make them last forever, what do you think about the permanance of art, esspecially on the internet.

THS: Oh, great! I like the idea of watching a live stream of an artist doing a performance, painting, reading, singing, whatever. Every artist should do that and I wonder why only a few do that already. But first we should have a video stream of an opening show in every gallery. I know one gallery who video streamed the entire opening of a show. I like to see that in every gallery around the world. Sure it got some Warholian characteristics to watch people on film, standing around and drinking sparkling wine and nothing happens. My idea is to have a remote control roboter with camera on top driving through a gallery during a show. I relax on a couch at home and simultaneously driving through the opening and watching people.

HST: What would you do if you had a 100 man cloned army of your self?

THS: Having a strange party.

HST: Id fucking love to see that, cheers Tomas, always a pleasure.


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