“A Crime Against Art”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 7, 2019 13:57

“A Crime Against Art”

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  • In its essence, beyond the little criticism, the court's performance has pointed to the end, the “death” of an intellectual as time features that artistic criticism can no longer function as before and therefore there is a cognitive divorce between criticism and creativity in the sense that they do not necessarily have to cross each other in an artistic production.

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TIRANA, April 3- Zeta Gallery has screened a documentary by Hila Peleg titled “A Crime Against Art” last week. The film is based on Madrid’s trial of Anton Vidokle and Tirdad Zolghadr. “A Crime Against Art” is a film based on a staged trial in an art fair in Madrid in February 2007. The trial, inspired by court trials organized by Andre Breton in the 1920s and 1930s, raises a series of controversial questions about the world of contemporary art: the secret agreement with the “new bourgeoisie,” the instrumentalization of art and its institutions, the possible forms of artistic expression in the future and other related topics. The trial begins with the assumption that a crime has been committed but its nature and evidence are illusory and no victim has been presented.

Evidence and investigations become a continuous effort of the Judge (Jan Verëert), the prosecutors (Chus Martinez and Vasif Kortung) and the defense attorney (Charles Esche), for clarifying the mysterious nature of “crime against art.” Staged as a television courtroom and filmed by four cameras, the film introduces a summary version in 100 minutes of trial. A combination of performance, lecture and court context, it raises multiple questions about research-based art practice as well as the nature of art in the era of intangible products.

By self-condescension, something similar to what art intellectuals would refer to as reflection, all the discussion in the courtroom suddenly becomes counter-intuitive and somewhat creative. For example, there are times when prosecutors (Vasif Kortun from the Garanti Contemporary Arts Center, Istanbul, and Chus Martinez from Frankfurter Kunstverein) deny the self-referral charge previously voiced by two defendants.

The debates then revolve around whether Zolghadr and Vodokle reduce the scope of art practice, not because of cooperation with the “bourgeoisie,” but because of the simplification of the notion of the bourgeoisie. However, in contrast to true criticism (which hurts him), all critical accusations on a stage, within a long day, are included within the semi-judicial performances. The task here, therefore, comes to ball-carrying between the prosecutor and the defense. The notion of judgment seems to relate less to the truth than to the rhythm and aesthetics. Collective performance comes out of the notion of instability, where critical accusations can no longer be as effective as it used to be, thus justifying the nature of the Madrid court where criticisms are simply emblems and self-reflection; as verbal rhetoric and where no one risks himself. In its essence, beyond the little criticism, the court’s performance has pointed to the end, the “death” of an intellectual as time features that artistic criticism can no longer function as before and therefore there is a cognitive divorce between criticism and creativity in the sense that they do not necessarily have to cross each other in an artistic production.

Hila Peleg is a curator and filmmaker living in Berlin, Germany. Peleg has curated solo shows, large-scale group exhibitions and interdisciplinary cultural events, across the visual arts, film and architecture, in public institutions throughout Europe and internationally. She is also known for her documentary film work including her award winning feature film “A Crime Against Art”  from 2007 and “Sign Space” from 2016. Her films are observation-based documentaries that engage with the conventions and debates that inform the institutional space of art.

Peleg has curated numerous interdisciplinary projects and exhibitions for institutions such as KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Iniva – Institute of International Visual Arts (London), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), and Centre Pompidou (Paris). She is also the co-editor of the book “Documentary Across Disciplines”, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London, HKW, Berlin, 2016.

The Zeta Gallery is hosting another exhibition in its space at the Helka Center in Tirana on April 4, 7 p.m., in collaboration with the Austrian Embassy in Albania. There will actually be two parallel joint exhibitions, “Hypotheses and interpretations” by Karl Wratchko, and “Inside/Outside” by Lilith Kraxner. This exhibition will remain open until April 17. 

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Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 7, 2019 13:57