FOR LOVE NOT MONEY is intended to present a timely reflection on the state of contemporary art production, presentation and reception during a period of world financial crisis. It also encapsulates a reflection of the status of printmaking within the hierarchy of contemporary art practice and production. Continuing a process started in previous triennials the 15th Triennial will present art works made using a range of mechanical and digital reproduction and print techniques, including camera and computer based technologies.
In the English language the aphorism “for love not money”describes any labour that is undertaken for passionate and not pecuniary reward it is almost interchangeable with the equally aphoristic “labour of love”. At its domestic basis is the care of small children and elderly people. In a larger social frame it refers to people who work in volunteer, community, and health services in those sectors that are financially under-nourished and socially under-valued, such as working with the homeless or drug addicted. The phrase also possesses a distinct cultural mien as it can be used to describe the plight of the young and/or struggling artist be they an actor, visual artist, director, or writer. Any person that sets out on a career in-the-arts knows that just making-a-living at what they have trained to do represents a modicum of success. They make their art for love not money. Of course boom times, such as the art world has experienced from 2000-2008 (and earlier in the mid-1980s) turn this ingrained logic around and visual artists can be catapulted to levels of richness they can hardly have imagined: even if they dreamed about it. With those dreams and monetary values arrives an expansion ā€” even excess ā€” of scale, production budgets, and output often in conveyer belt or factory mode. In this phase, art often moves closer to other forms of cultural production such as architecture, automotive engineering, cinema, and fashion as artists obsess about technics and means/modes of production that those other cultural sectors [or industries] offer them. The language associated with objects made in this way is equally transformed as the resulting artworks are no longer original inasmuch as they become one-offs or limited editions or props within an event.
Then the bust, as has happened in 2009. Attenuation is required – modesty even. The times invoke a return to the circuits of love from those of money. And reproducible art that Walter Benjamin robbed of its aura and its essence in the 1930s becomes the perfect vehicle for Zeitgeist expression. Within the ecology of the art market small multiple objects begin to make sense again: within the ecology of artistic diminution they also make sense.
Thematically the 15th Tallinn Print Triennial will explore a range of concepts embodied within the project’s title, including: addiction, desire, dedication, duty, family, love, lust, objectification, romance, religion, political commitment, and sex. Theoretically it will encourage reflexive examinations of these concepts from perspectives such as Walter Benjamin on reproducibility in art, Marx and Freud’s theories of fetishism, Aquinas, Pascal and Montaigne’s theories of faith, Roland Barthes, Michael Fried and Susan Sontag’s descriptions of the camera”s role in prescriptions of the public imaginary and its links to consumer culture, and Sean Cubitt and Boris Groys’ writing on the aesthetic and cultural affects of digitization.
As reproducibility is now manifold in the digital era the exhibition will aim to present artworks that are working within the thematic, reflect upon their technical status: and develop a relationship or refer to earlier modes of production (such as printmaking). Seriality is one of the key markers of this reflexive condition, whether it is played out in stop-animation or in photographic series, etc. Of course artists that are applying themselves to block-printing, lino-cutting, press-printing will be given special consideration, especially artists that are moving these techniques into a conceptual demesne. Explorations of more recent, but out-moded, technologies will also be encouraged as times of hardship often encourage recycling. The confessional nature of the exhibition theme is apposite to expression in book form; and artist’s books continue to be a vehicle for experimentation and expression. This confessional modality might also spill into the new zones of mediation associated with digital communication and the Internet.
PRESENTATION: In a shift from previous years the 15th Tallinn Print Triennial will be held exclusively at Kumu Art Museum to deliver a more focused and thematically integrated exhibition. This strategy will also capitalize on Kumu’s status as Tallinn’s most visited exhibiting institution.
MAPPING. Hits from the Ljubljana Biennials of Graphic Arts: The exhibition introduces outstanding art works from the Ljubljana Biennials of Graphic Arts that belong to the International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana. The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is the world’s oldest existing biennial exhibition of contemporary graphic arts that has taken place since 1955. „Mapping“ also exhibits works by Estonian artists who in secret took part of the biennial during Soviet times. The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts was one of the few international events that crossed the borders of the Cold War and didn`t care about whether the artists were rich or poor, came from one or another side of the Iron Curtain, from a colonized or an independent country. The socialist world admired the Ljubljana Biennial for its openness and liberty, the capitalist part of the world for its independence from market requirements and the democracy shown towards the Third World.
Out of respect for the biennial many participating artists gave their works to the biennial and so a collection was born which in part will be shown in the Tallinn exhibition named „Mapping“. Among the artists whose work will be shown are Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Viktor Vasarely, Hans Hartung, Jean Arp, Robert Morris, Richard Hamilton, Damien Hirst, Nancy Spero and others.