IBID Projects is a curatorial initiative and a gallery founded by Vita
Zaman (A) and Magnus Edensvard (B) in 2002 in London and
Vilnius. They asked themselves 10 questions about IBID, artists, art
1. What is IBID, what does it do and what does the title mean?
B: IBID, or ibidem, is Latin for 'in the same place'. We chose it for our curatorial adventure - we wanted to organise a series of mobile exhibitions starting in London, then moving on to Vilnius and finishing in Stockholm. The name referred to the same framework executed in three different European cities.
A: We both have studied Art and Art History at Goldsmiths College in London. IBID was a title for Magnus' last art project he produced for the degree show. It consisted of a series of conceptual proposals as well as a series of flags with a logo. We thought the project referred to the idea of repetition and sameness, plus to a collaborative nature of art. It was quite convenient to use the title IBID for our curatorial activities, which started in 2002 in our front living room in East London, transformed into a do-it-yourself white cube . The plan was to curate six shows with international artists who were addressing ideas and situations that were relevant to our personal artistic and intellectual curiosities. I am from Lithuania and Magnus is from Sweden, so we consciously wanted to invite debate and draw attention to practices that were somehow marginal or obscure or less known in London. In these first six projects we collaborated with Laura Stasiulyte, Dan Perjovschi, Nathaniel Mellor, Svetlana Heger, Nasrin Tabatabai, T-shroom project, Milena Dragicevic and Apolonija Sustersic.
IBID is an accidental and very spontaneous title, it sums up our way of working, since we always start with intuition and intellectual and visual puzzles that give us energy to explore and question various art practices and different cultural contexts. Rather than a considered in-depth platform, IBID is a very playful, flexible and horizontal structure that we rework at every show.
2. What is your favourite contemporary art gallery? How does
being a gallerist differ from curating or making art?
A: I believe artists start the best art galleries. I really like the story about a gallery that Dan Graham organised in New York, which lasted two years and then closed because it had no commercial success. I also like cinematic representations of galleries and museums, especially in the 1980s Hollywood films, and even in contemporary TV series like Sex and the City I am fascinated by the magic, glamour and amorous potential that popular culture invests into a white cube.
B: I don't have a favourite. Different art galleries are interesting for different reasons. Being a gallerist normally involves promoting and selling an artist's work long-term. Curating looks at art from a different perspective - what the work 'means' and how it relates to other artworks and ideas at the time.
3. What is the most interesting art / exhibition you have seen in 2004?
B: Tino Sehgal at Jan Mot's Statement booth in Art Basel 2004, El Greco at the National Gallery London, Franz Ackerman at neugerriemschneider Berlin and Butch Queen Realness with a Twist in Pastel Colour Video Show curated by assume vivid astro focus at the de la Cruz Collection in Miami.
A: Tino Sehgal in Basel and Utopia Station in Venice Biennale. However, the biennial format is increasingly problematic and predictable.
4. What inspires you in life and in the art world? What's the
most exciting experience in being involved in contemporary art
A: Literature and writing inspire in life; rare moments of absolute lack of gravity, the wonder that unexpected, challenging, funny artworks provide. Art can be a life-changing, perspectivealtering experience. Art inspires by granting opportunities and anticipation of very important and interesting encounters on all levels - personal, philosophical and even financial.
B: People, places, focus, artists, short interesting conversations, the weather, music, an empty museum (never been in one), gossip and generosity. The most exiting experience of the art world is the unpredictability of it.
5. How does it feel to work in Vilnius and in London? Do you find the relationship between these two places constructive or problematic? If there is no commercial art market in the Baltic countries, what aims does a commercial art gallery have in such a context?
A: A gallery's activities and success depends on the quality and energy of the artwork and artists it collaborates with. I see simultaneously an amazing potential and crisis in the Baltic states. I wish a new generation of young artists would emerge in Vilnius, since it has a dense and stimulating context - a very active Contemporary Art Centre, an excellent generation of internationally successful artists in their 40s living in Vilnius, some good departments at the Vilnius Art Academy. Yet there are few young artist in their twenties who work in a consistent and committed way and are interested in operating in commercial art market.
Recently we did a project in Riga with a young Latvian painter Janis Avotins, the show will move to Vilnius in 2005. Avoti└ń's work has received a lot of critical and commercial interest in 2004, since Liste art fair in Basel and Artforum Berlin. We hope there will be more emerging artists with whom we can collaborate both in local and international context.
B: It is constructively problematic, an interesting dialogue between two still very different contexts. The art market is global and a commercial gallery involved in international art fairs does not always need to use its space to sell art but can instead allow for the programming to become more challenging and experimental. But I do think an art market will develop in the Baltic states within the next 5 years or so.
6. Do you like art fairs? What are your criticisms of commercial
art world or art market?
A: I think IBID's shift in focus towards international commercial context started with participation in Liste, Basel (www.liste.ch) with a solo presentation of Arturas Raila's work. It was a formative experience - both exhilarating and depressing - Liste has amazing energy, the best young galleries, the most important collectors, it has both the quality and quantity of content. I enjoy the literal 'market' situation, where gallerists are put on display, they have to react and interact with the public. Commercial art world can be very depressing since the measure is money, but it can also act as a liberating unpredictable system, which is very ambitious, neurotic and constantly self-reinventing, not unlike late capitalism itself.
B: Good international art fairs bring together galleries, artists, collectors, curators, enthusiasts etc. and can help launch young artists (and galleries) internationally, especially those from peripheral geographical locations. The criticism I have is that the art market increasingly dictates the standards of what is currently considered 'good' or 'interesting' art. It's not self-reflective until the market crash.
7. What are the most interesting developments in contemporary art? What changes do you predict in the next five years?
A: I see a return to the artwork and its power rather than presentation or mediation mechanism. I think there is lightness and simplicity and perhaps even certain metaphysical and self-reflective concerns. I am less interested in very blunt or didactical or overtly cynical artistic gestures and statements, so perhaps this influences my radar. Painting and romantic conceptualism have a strong presence.
B: The most striking development for me is to see the artists and their ideas becoming increasingly ambitious, in scale, reach and medium. I am thinking of Olafur Eliasson Weather Project at Tate Modern in London. Although indebted to Richard Long and Land Art, Christo's wrapping projects and Nikki St. Phalle's 1965 Hon project at Moderna Museet in Stockholm etc., the sophistication of ideas and the confidence of contemporary artists to break down conventional ideas about what art is or should be, never ceases to impress me. The conceptual British artist Carey Young works part-time as a business consultant and draws from these experiences when making art. An innovative position that reveals and questions the role and identity of a contemporary artist.
8. What do you miss most about being an artist? Tell us more
about the relationship between the artist and the gallerist? How
does it differ from the relationship between curator and artist?
B: It's nice to make stuff. The relationship between the artist and the galleries is not dissimilar with marriage or a very close friendship and, like all relationships, they require a clear understanding and inspiration in order to continue to flourish. These things don't happen automatically but need hard work and constant care. The curator is more like a mistress; more often than not coming in for a one-off project and, in at best, makes the artist's work look great and interesting.
9. If you could travel in time and exhibit any artist/ curate any exhibition in the world what would it be and when?
A: I would like to do a series of shows that would consist of one artwork.
B: I would travel back to 2003 and re-install one of our shows in London.
10. What are your plans for the future?
A: Dave Bailey Hulfish show in London - Banding Station by Bailey will act as a sculptural series of questions or notes on representational mechanisms within contemporary politics. The work specifically questions the rhetorical tropes of naturalism and abstraction as these are used to 'spin' events which are (being made) increasingly difficult to verify empirically. No wonder then that they also figure heavily in the consequent middle term: beliefs that are fundamental, in the religious or political sense, or both.
The point of departure of the project is the ancient practice of using owl decoys to elicit defensive 'mobbing behaviour' by other kinds of birds, a technique still employed by professional and amateur birders to attract species for banding (i.e. 'ringing'). Banding that uses owl decoys provides an interesting conceptual model because it takes two notions as axiomatic: 1) a group can be formed by presenting a false image which incites fear, and 2) the ends of doing so justify the means.
A couple of publications we are working on.
Constant research in the past and present, expecting to find interesting emerging artists and rediscovering overlooked artworks and ideas.
B: Continue to promote IBID's artists, move into a new larger space in London, find new young artists to work with and enjoy it all in the process.
has recently shown works by Estonian artists Jaan Toomik and August Künnapu. J. Toomik had his solo show Dancing with Dad at IBID London in May 2004. IBID Projects has also helped to organise the show of Lithuanian contemporary art and solo show of Arturas Raila in the exhibition hall of the Rotermann Salt Storage in 2004.
| Estonian Art 2/04 (15) | Published by the Estonian Institute 2004 | ISSN 1406-5711 (Online) | ISSN 1406-3549 (Printed version) | firstname.lastname@example.org | tel: (372) 631 43 55 | fax: (372) 631 43 56 |