In a common understanding of modern art the actual work is the artist persona, while the signed stuff that he/she produces are just “relics” (Boris Groys) of his/her existence. Still, since a phase of radical performance art in the 70s (Hsieh, Abramovic, Burden,…) personal frontiers have rather not been challenged. While the media is flooded with books, TV shows, and blogs on self-improvement, the artistic practice seems to be all about protecting a grail like persona. While pop and movie stars are encouraged to deliver revelations on personal meltdowns and erratic shifts, artists are expected to steadily evolve their once found artistic position to satisfy a market and a critical perception that are both, in whatever ways, determined by the prospects of museification.
As long as artists don’t claim to be identical with their artist persona, they feel secure from the trap of a fake authenticity. But as the art world is very much based on personal encounters expectations on what the “real person” is like, make up a large part in the evaluation of an artist persona. To disrupt this trust, writer Ingo Niermann will gather with a couple of artists to develop previously undisclosed ways of how to make themselves usable as artistic material. An elementary tool for this endeavour will be Niermann’s concept of a self-determined drill (Choose Drill, Hatje Cantz/ dOCUMENTA13, 2012).
Ingo Niermann (b. 1969) lives in Berlin and Basel. Recent writing work includes Solution 247-261: Love (ed., 2013), Choose Drill (2011), The Future of Art: A Manual (2011, with Erik Niedling). His work has been featured at Serpentine Gallery (London), MACBA (Barcelona), ZKM (Karlsruhe), dOCUMENTA(13) (Kassel), MoMA (New York), and La Biennale die Venezia. Collaborative projects include Vote (Gwangju, Korea) – a tool for public ballots developed with Rem Koolhaas, and Fiktion – an international digital publishing project with Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin).