Issue #45, 2014

Exhibition Views
Flaviu Rogojan

Exhibition views or installation shots took over the leading role in communicating art and its contexts. The shift of thinking about art in terms of exhibitions, rather than works, and the higher value attributed to curatorial practices, together with the global geographical expansion of contemporary art events, are all factors in determining why exhibition documentation has become so important in contemporary art. This photographic language is not without its canonic rules or medium limitations, as one can readily see that by trying to photograph the curator’s work of spatial arrangement you end up recording more wall than work. At first glance this territorial imbalance of content versus white void (typical of white cube spaces) seems to be rather disadvantageous to the purpose of communicating art. But the empty wall-space is never empty, and just as context is on par with content in the economy of exhibitions, the white space in exhibition views is just as essential in communicating an art context. The white cube exhibition format is still, in spite of heavy criticism, the most widespread way of showing art. Its claims of neutrality, emptiness, universality, are easily overridden by its underlying political and historical load, yet it functions as an entrenched convention, and the same applies to this type of photographic documentation, with its claims of objectivity and timelessness.

In the Exhibition Views series several official exhibition communication installation shots are stitched together in such a way as to create a new virtual space. The galleries, museum, and trade fair walls from each picture build up a fictional and improbable virtual exhibition space, holding a new configuration of works that could form a fragment of an imaginary exhibition. Bringing together walls from different politically charged white cubes causes tension at the seams, where the incompatibility of exhibition modes is reflected in the varying image qualities of released photos.

Flaviu Rogojan (b. 1990) lives and works in Cluj. Previous exhibitions include: Dear Money, Viennafair, Vienna (2013); It’s Compulsory That We Have a Title, Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest (2013); Carrot and Stick, Baril, Cluj (2012). From 2011 to 2012 he was the project coordinator/curator of Ataș ProjectSpace.