This exhibition – entitled in reference to a text by Robert Morris published in Art Forum in 1970 – presents a group of artworks demystifying the artist’s activities and work places. The exhibition features Klaus Scherübel as the protagonist, in order to portray the artist at work, freed from the weight of historical image, and to self–reflexively interrogate the nature of his activity.
The representation of the artist at work is an actual genre that can be traced back in the history of painting and photography, and later in conceptual practices. It has also appeared in advertisements for upcoming exhibitions, or in reports on artists’ modus operandi, such as Hans Namuth showing for the first time Jackson Pollock executing his famous method. Most often these stories portray artists in their studio, a creation space where the artist seeks a context for reflection, inspiration, conception. Artists are often depicted during the production action and virtually always in solo. The question of determining where the artist’s work takes place has preoccupied Rosalind Krauss, who noted that it was increasingly problematic considering the explosion of methods used to make modern art. How can we localize the work of artists who do not necessarily work in a studio but rather adapt to where the work must be created? How can we localize the work of artists evolving in conceptual fields where the production of artworks does not need to involve material pieces, and frequently consists of rendering a process? Thought and reflection, essential to the production of any artwork, can also happen outside the studio.
These are the questions investigated by Klaus Scherübel since 1996. The series Untitled (The Artist at Work) and the videographic diptych Studio Work convene the activities of an artist who holds as conceptually significant the occupations and experiences punctuating his daily life. Scherübel’s Studio Doors – referring to Joseph Beuys’ famous carbonized door – attempt to erase the mythological connotation of the artist’s workplace. These works pertain to activities and experiences that are ordinary but meaningful, while superimposing the double meaning of the word “work”: both object and process. This strategy aims to “make visible” the conceptual artist in the “action” of his production.
This exhibition was presented with the support of the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and the Ministerium für Unterricht Kunst und Kultur, Austria.
Klaus Scherübel was born in 1968 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria. He lives and works in Montréal, Canada.