This master’s thesis is based on the relationship between art and its public. The research focuses on the social aspect of making and exhibiting art and explores issues such as the perception and impact of art inside and outside the classical white cube, which defines museums and exhibition spaces. What are the social aspects of an exhibition and how is the site of presentation connected to the implementation of this social role?
The exhibition Chambres d’Amis, curated in 1986 by Jan Hoet, was examined as a case study and thus serves as a framework for the thesis. Chambres d’Amis’ problematic nature has been studied in detail and compared with similar exhibition formats, in order to expand the spectrum of the theoretical approach. Gordon Matta-Clark’s projects FOOD and Pig Roast from 1971, the collaboration between Jef Geys and the secondary school of Balen, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, as well as the alternative exhibition spaces of 112 Greene Street and PS1 in New York are some of the comparative examples building the research skeleton of the thesis.
The re-enactment of the seminal exhibition Chambres d’Amis serves as a conclusion of the research within the framework of this thesis. Contributions from 51 contemporary artists were selected on the basis of the original exhibition and installed in one private apartment in Vienna, turning it into a museum and opening it to the public for the duration of one month. The recreation of this fundamental exhibition from 1986, which played a crucial role in contemporary art discourse, serves as an homage as well as a foundation for a sustained discussion of current topics.
I aim to perceive my projects less as static entities and more as adaptable, dynamic acts. Therefore, this master’s thesis owns a flexible body, which emerges from a combination of actions, studying the nature of the art exhibition and aiming to question, listen to and understand its complex environment.