To be honest, I'm not very good at preparing for things.
I do manage to pack socks and a toothbrush, though the only items I figure to be truly indispensable are a passport and maybe some pants.
Everything else can be reckoned with.
I aspire to detail-oriented readiness, long for the interest and ability to compose excel sheets that excel and enumerate neat lists with reassuring checkmarks next to each accomplished task, but this is sadly not the case. I can be distracted by a particularly beautiful butterfly passing.
I've read that showing up is most of the job though and I do generally manage that.
I have my plane ticket to Italy and a room booked in Turin under my name, and a project there with my name listed as co-curator.
I'm organizing a show at Artissima this year with my good friend and colleague Lauren Mackler for her space Public Fiction out of Los Angeles. The exhibition required ridiculous amounts of preparation of course as these things generally do, hundreds of emails, dozens of meetings, trips to shipping places and sundry studios, and the difficult-to-quantify work of thinking and then trying to wind up your courage to do the many difficult things required to do much of anything.
Our show will last only four days, the duration of the fair.
Samara Golden, Masks, 2012, rmax, acrylic, gorilla glue, 10 masks 34 x 25 x 2,5 cm each; Courtesy of the artist.
This ephemeral exhibition, "Treating Shadows Like Real Things," is taking place in the Church of the Holy Shroud in the Roman Quarter of Turin. In my head, I call it the Metaphysical Disco. There will be a mirrored floor and a De Chirico, whose famous piazzas come from those around Turin, lonely windswept places outside of time, with us outside of the world looking in at all the smooth objects and vast space, ancient forms and figures imbued with spectral meaning.
Turin is supposedly one of the most magical cities in Europe, in the witchcraft sense of the word.
The Shroud of Turin is held in the Duomo at the center of the city and though been proven to be false by carbon-dating, it still lingers a displaced icon, plump with the prayers of the faithful. The Chruch we'll inhabit belongs to the Brotherhood of the Shroud, for centuries devoted to the holiness of this icon.
We proposed to install mirrors on the floor of the Church. The Shroud is a semblance, an imprint and a facsimile. Its formal characteristics are based (as an object and a symbol) on symmetry. In relationship to this, we wanted to stage a simple optical illusion.
Like Magicians and Illusionists, we intend to shift perception. Upon seeing it, we hope you'll be quite aware that the illusion of depth in the floor is fake, but will tread carefully, step-by-step around the reflection while shifting a glance to the ceiling and another to its duplicate. We will be, in a way, illustrating an old alchemical principle: As Above, So Below.
Upon and around the mirrored floor, we will strategically place a few artworks by artists (many coming from where we do, Los Angeles) who address the flexibility of perception, the nature of belief, and the space and possibility of the metaphysical, the sublime epiphany and the special effect, the multi-stable perception and the impossible object.
Lucas Blalock, Loop-loop (picture for NM), 2009, 56 x 46 cm; Courtesy of the artist.
Whatever preparedness we have made however, does not displace the various unstable possibilities of reality or the revelations that come by leaving oneself open to chance. If everything is planned and prepared, there's no room for improvisation, impulse, unforeseen adventure.
This is the best excuse I can come up with for my lack of planning.
Do I have a schedule? Sort of. Do I know how I'm getting to any of the parties and opening? No idea. Or what time they start? Vaguely. Given my level of preparedness, I will be happy to make it to the airport.
There's the central fair, there's the projects for LIDO (which somewhat self-interestedly I think are going to be awesome), and there's Turin in the Fall. Knowing that these things will be there is almost enough.
As you prepare to go to Artissima, I strongly advise you to not forget your passport or perhaps some pants.
(Image on top: Mark Hagen, Crooked Rain, 2011, 200 sandblasted aluminum cans with Los Angeles rain water, dimensions vary; Courtesy of the artist.)