Solo Solo: Yes, I Believe Every Word You Say
PawnShop presents Solo Solo, a series of exhibitions presenting a singular
artwork chosen by an invited curator. For the second installment in the
series, Ben Borthwick has selected Andrea Büttner’s 'Yes, I Believe Every
Word You Say' (2007).
Andrea Büttner lives in London, Frankfurt and Berlin. Her work was
included in the Wight Biennial at UCLA, 2006. Recent shows include a solo
show at Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe, and the group show ‘Pensée
Sauvage – On freedom’ at Frankfurter Kunstverein. In March 2008 her solo
show at Hollybush Gardens opened in London.
Ben Borthwick is currently Assistant Curator at Tate Modern, London, UK.
He curated Tate Modern’s Gilbert & George retrospective which is currently
at the De Young in San Francisco. His most recent exhibitions are
Illuminations and The Irresistible Force, both in Tate Modern’s Level 2
Gallery project space.
‘As a curator who is committed to engaging with the specific context of
where I work, the invitation to present a project at PawnShop gives rise,
on a microscale, to the classic problem of the parachute project: curator
drops in, does their thing to 'engage' in the local context then fucks
off again to do the same shite elsewhere. In these situations, site
specificity ceases to mean engaging in the specific context of the site
and instead ends up as nothing more than branding the gallery with a
stamp of authorial individuality of that curator. Which left me thinking
the logical conclusion for my response to curating a project for Solo
Solo in a city I don’t know anything about is to present a work that is
universalizing and non-specific. But that is not really of any interest
to me in my practice as a curator. Andrea Büttner’s 'Yes, I Believe Every
Word You Say' is a piece that has its own internal set of operations –
historical, formal, philosophical, emotional – that have various
connection with LA. But also I hope that showing this piece at this
moment in time goes beyond the artwork’s internal logics and engages with
the broader rhetorics of the US at this specific moment.
What fascinates me about Büttner’s work is that she is absolutely
committed to the political possibilities of an authentic mode of
expression and the desire to believe, while at the same time questioning
that commitment and desire. She is asking whether it is possible to make
or believe in an art that represents an authentic position. The work at
one moment implores and registers the desire for truth, while at the next
is skeptical and full of doubt. Its own proclamations are undermined by
the naïve honesty of its statement. It switches between naivety and
knowing doubt and in an unnerving way it is not clear if it is doing this
willfully or if this is an effect of the viewers relation to the work.’ –
Ben Borthwick 2008.
BB: Is that how you feel when you have an exhibition?
AB: One sentence – the sentence ‘I want to let the work fall down’ is a
Dieter Roth quote. I think it’s a Dieter Roth quote. Maybe I changed it a
bit… this quote is like an abbreviation of my engagement with his work
because its honest about how pretentious it is to show, how shameful it
is, to show art at all. Dieter Roth says one has to be honest to comfort
the viewer in their misery. That one has to show ones own misery for that
purpose. I think I still fail in showing my own misery.
BB: Is the interview a situation in which you can show that misery?
AB: ...Of course it is exactly like art: That it should sound impressive,
you know. Like the art should look impressive. But… I have doubts about my
work. I think its perfectly fine to share this with the viewers, actually.
(exerpt from interview, London, October 2006)
Solo Solo is exhibited concurrently with the Video Library (on show in the
East Gallery) screening the permanent collection of video works alongside
each exhibition. Los Angeles based Justin Hansch will show from the 23rd
May – 29th June 2008.