“Space now is not just where things happen; things make space happen.” (O’ Doherty, 1999)[1] 

As the final chapter of the LIMITACTION residency, Space moves the focus back to the initial spark of the project, i.e. the space itself. Coming from the perspective of the commodified artwork, Charlotte Warne Thomas’ labour and process has shed light onto the realm of consumerism. Following this conundrum; contemporary society’s obsession with the material, and the commodification of life, Charlotte aims now to address the art-object’s contemporary purpose, by focusing on modes of display. Critic Isabelle Graw has written extensively about the artwork itself, within the frame of the market, and the idea of art acting as the ultimate commodity (in Marx’s terms)[2]. In relation to space and the artwork, there is a heavy emphasis on the context space might frame the object with, rendering it subservient to exterior forces. In fact, artist Daniel Buren is known to have been concerned by the loss of meaning of an artwork as it transferred from exhibition space to another, feeding the implication of a one-way exchange between the artwork and its physical surroundings. This raises the questions: What does an artwork do to space? What does space do to an artwork? And is art’s contemporary purpose found in how it interacts with its exhibition space?

This problematic relationship can be seen in examples of spaces whose purposes are polar opposites: a project space, where art works are produced in response to the space, taking on a temporal existence, in contrast to a commercial gallery, where the works are presented for the purpose of capital gain. Further, if one were to focus on the increasing use of unconventional sites as exhibition spaces (i.e. vitrines, cafes, mezzanines etc.), this adds an additional set of parameters to how the art-object interacts with its display context (space), and vice-versa.

Thus the Space chapter of LIMITACTION will inadvertently become a dialogue between the artistic process and how the artists’ labour activates a space; investigating the very nature of an exhibition space as a site of art production. This performative gesture will call into question the contemporary climate and social expectation of the myth of the artwork in a consumer-oriented world. 

Curated by Alejandro Ball

[1] Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube, The Ideology of the Gallery Space (San Francisco: Lapis Press, 1999)
[2] Graw, I., High Price: Art Between the Market and Celebrity Culture (Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2009). pp.131-132