1. Per Hüttner
2. Collier Schorr

What I actually wrote about Per Hüttner  
Swedish 'artist-curator' Per Hüttner is conducting "an experiment in democratising the curatorial process". Here's how.
He had a team choose items by fifty-seven artists to be 'curated' during gallery opening hours by one volunteer member of the public per day.
Another team provided indexing, uniforms, games, strategies, books, phone numbers and a big modular storage unit.
The quicker the daily curators take their choice of items out of the box and put them in the room and arrange the modular box how they like it, the longer their achievement may be admired. If they're slow enough, only the gallery staff will be seeing the result. In any case, everything goes back in the box for the next day's volunteer.
This activity is supposed to address many curatorial and aesthetic questions, primarily artist intention vs. subsequent interpretation.
This red herring is our big clue. The prime curatorial question is of course: Why have I convinced myself that the aesthetic loop should include me? And the prime question of interpretation is: What is it that I am now looking at?
Per Hüttner 's manifest answer to the first question is: Because I see myself as a lord.
My answer to the second question is: I'm looking at a game, mutative and feudal, with several tiers of collusion, various opportunities for reward and disappointment, and viral in its tendency towards the proliferation of stats (like: Which artist's work got taken out of the box least) and in its international and cybernautic promise.
I'm also looking at a bid for curatorial practice as art, and for curatorial supremacy over its subject arts disciplines.
So, what about the artists' stuff that's constantly getting moved about? Well, some of it wants to be in Hüttner's game and about Hüttner's game more than others, and some of it's alright and some of it isn't.

Correct version © FStapleton 2003
on Per Hüttner's exhibition I am a Curator at Chisenhale Gallery, London, winter 2003
in C: International Contemporary Art Magazine, winter 2003


Collier Schorr

Things have already happened or are coming to their close in Collier Schorr's photographs of young wrestlers in their gymnasium. Livid and depleted bodies standing, slumping, grasping each other. There's no exhilaration. She's left out the winners, or they're too tired for celebration. Theirs is a compact world of punishing routines of stamina, force meeting resistance, the revelations that the mind receives from the body's extreme exertions.
Yes, Schorr's images are ‘somehow... hallucinated’ to quote the press release. Yes, they have ‘the appearance of spiritual transcendence’ to quote the artist. But lyrical waxings about the content of photographs are better applied to the medium itself which always transforms life into a poetics of arrested time, and which by its nature produces hallucinations and conjures dreams of transcendence. Hence the modern little anxieties to do with will in its production and awe in its reception.
Microseconds of shutter-speed can catch us all unawares. Between the expected grappler-grimaces, some of Schorr’s pictures freeze those other fleeting half-secret emotions related to solitary reflection.
The bodies are lit, the backgrounds not. Photography’s other trade is with painting. Often, each hankers after the condition of the other: painting has a human hand furiously at work; photography has the miracle of the apparition. That’s why, banally, they quite often look like each other. Caravaggio’s battered types and shadowy grounds are in Schorr’s work, for example, as are Degas’ straining ballerinas.
One picture shows two brothers standing side by side. Like all brothers, they elicit comparison. One is the stockier and is cut on the leg; the taller one is cut on the face. These are emphases of the purposeful body, made then tested.
Some of Schorr’s photos are chopped and reassembled in casual spare little collages. Nothing too flash, just an additional pair of wrestlers in the bout, confusing the limbs, interrupting the earnest conflict with a provisional choreography. Or parts: a nipple, an arm, creased flesh, looking for other sensualities in these tableaux.
A broader scene shot from high up shows resting legs, dangling ropes, someone walking, others headlocked, a big round floor pattern. The distance, the low contrast, the even spacing give these fragments equal value. Human bodies limited, expanded, shaped by the rule of the order. This is the repeated theme of the work because this is what Schorr discovered when she went there.

© FStapleton & C: International Contemporary Art Magazine 2004
on Collier Schorr's exhibition at Modern Art Inc, London, spring 2004

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