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20110430111449-marx_pic_5 20110430105051-marx_pic_6 20110430111348-marx_pic_2 20110430105019-marx_pic_3 20110430104331-10 116 Jaar_-_sound_of_silence 20101029194128-01120101030 20110123171138-009--1
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
20110430111220-alfredo-jaar
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar,
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), 2011
© Photo Courtesy Andrea Alessi
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar,
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), 2011
© Photo Courtesy Andrea Alessi
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar,
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), 2011
© Photo Courtesy Andrea Alessi
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar,
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), 2011
© Photo Courtesy Andrea Alessi
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar,
The Marx Lounge (Installation View), 2011
© SMBA
The Sound of Silence, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, The Sound of Silence,
2006, Installation of wood, lights, flashes, and video projection, Duration of projection: 8 minutes
© courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong
The Sound of Silence, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, The Sound of Silence,
2006, Wood, lights, flashes, 8-minute video projection
© Galerie Lelong
The Sound of Silence, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, The Sound of Silence, 2006
© Courtesy of the artist & Galería Oliva Arauna
Three Women, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Three Women,
2010, Light projectors and tripods, 6ft x 10ft x 3ft
© Courtesy of the aritst and Kamel Mennour
	Cien Anos de Soledad , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Cien Anos de Soledad ,
1985, Neon, h: 40 x w: 150 cm
© Galerie Kamel Mennour
A Star Is Born , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, A Star Is Born ,
1988, Lightbox with color transparency , h: 18 x w: 96 x d: 7 in
© Galerie Hans Mayer
	Buscando a Marcel Duchamp , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Buscando a Marcel Duchamp ,
2004, Photograph mounted on aluminum , h: 61 x w: 87 cm
© Galeria Cadaqués - Huc Malla
Muxima , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Muxima ,
2005, Digital film with sound
© Galerie Lelong - New York
	Embrace , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Embrace ,
1996, One quadvision lightbox with four color transparencies , h: 66.5 x w: 59 x d: 15.5 cm
© Galerie Thomas Schulte
	Gold in the Morning , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning ,
1986-2003 , Lightbox with color transparency , h: 188 x w: 127 x d: 9 cm
© Galerie Thomas Schulte
The Eyes of Guetete Emerita , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, The Eyes of Guetete Emerita ,
1996, Two quadvision lightboxes with six B/W text transparencies , h: 66.5 x w: 127.5 x d: 15.5 cm
© Galerie Thomas Schulte
Gold in the Morning (04) , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning (04) ,
1985, Lightbox with Color Transparency , h: 32 x w: 47 x d: 13 cm
© Galleria Lia Rumma
Walking I , Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Walking I ,
2002, Lightbox with color transparency , h: 188 x w: 127 x d: 9 cm
© Galerie Thomas Schulte
, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar
© Alfredo Jaar
Installation View, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Installation View
© Stedelijk Museum (Bureau Amsterdam)
, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar
© Courtesy of the artist & SCAD Museum of Art
Muxima, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Muxima, 2005
© Courtesy of the artist and The Art Institute of Chicago
Kultur = Kapital [Unique], Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Kultur = Kapital [Unique],
2012 , Neon lights , 800 x 100 cm
© Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Thomas Schulte
, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar
© Courtesy of the artist & Berlinische Galerie
Gold in the Morning, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning,
1986, Fujiflex Print, 30 x 20"
, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar
© Courtesy of the artist & Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
Lament of the Images, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Lament of the Images, 2002
© copyright the artist
We Wish to Inform You That We Didn\'t Know, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar,
We Wish to Inform You That We Didn't Know,
2010, video installation
© Courtesy of the artist and RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE
Terra non Descoperta, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Terra non Descoperta
© Courtesy of the de la cruz Collection
Terra non Descoperta, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Terra non Descoperta
© courtesy of the Artist and de la Cruz Collection
Terra non Descoperta, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Terra non Descoperta
© courtesy of the Artist and de la Cruz Collection
The Ashes of Pasolini, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, The Ashes of Pasolini,
2009, video stills, 39 min.
© courtesy of the artist
, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar
© Courtesy of the artist and La Biennale di Venezia
Film still from Muxima, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Film still from Muxima
© Courtesy of Galerie Lelong and Alfredo Jaar
The Geometry of Conscience, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, The Geometry of Conscience,
2010, Public intervention, Dimensions variable
© Courtesy of the artist
Lament of the Images, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Lament of the Images, 2002
© Courtesy of the artist & The SCAD Museum of Art
May 1, 2011, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, May 1, 2011,
2011, Two LCD monitors and two framed prints on archival paper, 210 x 28 inches (533.4 x 71.1 cm)
The Geometry of Conscience, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, The Geometry of Conscience,
2010
© Courtesy the artist, New York
You Do Not Take a Photograph, You Make It, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar,
You Do Not Take a Photograph, You Make It,
2013
Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness, Alfredo JaarAlfredo Jaar, Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness,
1995, Neon
© Alfredo Jaar
Winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and many other awards, Alfredo Jaar is a native of Santiago de Chile (born 1956), where he studied architecture and film direction. Since 1982, he has lived and worked in New York City. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows at museums throughout the world, including the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Chicago's Museum of Con...[more]


RackRoom
Interview wiyh Alfredo Jaar

Amsterdam, Apr. 2011 - At the opening of Alfredo Jaar’s Marx Lounge at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, members of the art community walked gingerly around a large table filled corner-to-corner with books. For the first ten minutes or so no one touched anything. The books seemed so shiny, new, pristine – and they were, after all, art. When a number of young Amsterdam artists waltzed in and unquestioningly began flipping through the titles as they schmoozed, it became clear that lounge visitors were welcome, if not encouraged, to further examine the diverse reading material.

The Marx Lounge rethinks the SMBA as library reading room, painted red and furnished with comfy black couches, dim reading lamps, and a neon sign announcing the work’s name. The focal point of the exhibition is, of course, the table, and the nearly 350 books arranged thematically and linguistically across it. As one might expect, many titles hail from Marxist and post-Marxist theorists including Žižek, Badiou, Rancière, Negri, and Laclau, though the bibliography is by no means limited to this type of scholarship alone. Indeed, the exhibition addresses all manner of contemporary and 20th century thought, including philosophy, politics, post-colonialism, globalization, cultural theory, and neo-liberalism (to name but a few topics). For Jaar, the compilation of such works in one place confirms a recent intellectual revolution that goes generally unseen in society at large.

Amsterdam hosts the third incarnation of The Marx Lounge (with another currently inspiring thinkers in Seville, Spain). Jaar formulated the original Lounge for the Liverpool Biennial as a response to the global financial crisis and the subsequent de-funding of public education in the UK. In Amsterdam the project is resurrected under the rubric of Project ‘1975,’ the SMBA’s ongoing programming framework centered on the postcolonial predicament of art in the Netherlands (so titled after the year the Netherlands officially became a “post-colonial nation”). While this library shares much in common with that of the dismantled Liverpool Lounge, it has been adapted slightly for the setting with additional translations and titles by Dutch intellectuals added to the reading list. For the duration of the installation, the SMBA is also hosting a series of lectures, reading groups, film screenings, and debates in conjunction with the exhibition. Visit the SMBA’s website for the complete program and Marx Lounge bibliography.

Alfredo Jaar (Chile, 1956) is a New York based artist often characterized as a “political artist” (a depiction he notably rejects, championing the notion that all art is political). He is known for his work addressing the Rwandan genocide and media (mis)representations of world events. The artist was kind enough to take some time out of an incredibly busy schedule to answer a few questions about his recent work.


Andrea Alessi: Given your background in architecture, how essential is the physical space of The Marx Lounge to the artwork? If someone were to print out a syllabus and read the books at home or in a library, for example, would that change the artwork?

Alfredo Jaar: Completely. We all know these books exist and we can walk in a bookstore and buy any or all of them. What is important in The Marx Lounge, is that they are there, all together, in the same space. It is an invitation to share a space with someone you don’t know, and plunge deep into a world of ideas that could potentially change the world, and engage others in a conversation. In a way, The Marx Lounge space has the potential to create a thinking community.

AA: Your 2 x 10m table contains the intellectual raw material to explain the world or fuel the flames of revolution. You’ve humbly said that it is a gift for you just knowing these ideas exist in one space. It is also a gift and opportunity for viewers. You explicitly aren’t asking us to read everything (or anything), but in your wildest dreams, how much work would viewer-readers invest in The Marx Lounge and what would their participation accomplish?

AJ: This is a conceptual art work, where just the fact that all these great books are together on the same table and in the same space is already enough for me, just to reveal they exist. In other words, even if not a single book is ever opened or read doesn’t really matter at all. If some viewers actually do sit and read, it will be great, as the space will be activated by the belief that these ideas are worth an effort. On a much larger scale, it is the same kind of intellectual effort society must make to make a better world.


AA: It seems many artists, particularly when addressing crisis, employ varying strategies of revealing and concealing in their work. You very thoughtfully confronted the challenge of what to include/exclude in the Rwanda Project. Rachel Whiteread’s Holocaust memorial in Vienna, Nameless Library, is another example of an artwork that withholds information, and it seems an interesting one to contrast with The Marx Lounge, which overwhelms us with books for intellectual consumption. Can you describe how you negotiate these strategies of inclusion and exclusion in your artwork?

AJ: Unlike a studio artist that produces work in the studio, I am a project artist that responds to specific issues in specific places. My working process is a long period of research and thinking that leads me to the point of articulating an idea. That idea is not gratuitous or a product of my imagination, it responds very precisely to a program and an objective for that particular project. The Marx Lounge was born out of my wish to assist distressed communities in Liverpool trying to resist the drastic financial cuts of the Cameron government. The optimal solution I came up with for this project was one of inclusion.

AA: The global financial crisis, followed by the de-funding of British higher education set the scene for the initial Marx Lounge at the Liverpool Biennial. How do you tie the financial crisis and The Marx Lounge in with the SMBA’s Project ‘1975,’ which addresses the “postcolonial predicament of art”? Is there a critical intersection, or is it through something more nebulous?

AJ: The Marx Lounge “disappeared” after the Liverpool Biennial as the books were distributed to distressed local communities. So originally this was conceived as an ephemeral work. It was a great surprise to be invited to re-create it in Seville and in Amsterdam. I accepted as I realized about the urgent need to create similar spaces of “resistance” in other communities. As many of the writers in the Marx Lounge focus on the postcolonial reality, I felt it would fit very well within SMBA’s 1975 Project. I was happy to know that The Marx Lounge could have a longer life beyond Liverpool. In fact, I continue to receive more requests from other cities around the world. As an artist who has been active for thirty years, I can honestly say that I still do not understand the “art world.”


AA: If you could take only three books with you on a desert island (or in a prison cell, if we’re feeling pessimistic), which three would you take?

AJ: In the heights of despair, Emile Cioran.

The complete poems, Giuseppe Ungaretti.

The Ashes of Gramsci, Pier Paolo Pasolini.


ArtSlant would like to thank Alfredo Jaar for his assistance in making this interview possible.

--Andrea Alessi


(All Images: Courtesy of the artist and Andrea Alessi)

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