Beyond the visual

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‘There are several routes to avoid or subvert [the tyranny of the gallery]. One is open revolt, as the Italian futurists demonstrated with their manifesto incitements to flood, demolish and ignite such institutions. Another is to showcase work outside galleries; on gable walls or in sculpture parks, for example, where the work can be said to breathe and interact with the real world. The most interesting path is to take the gallery and turn it into something else entirely. This has been a surprisingly tentative but radical process since the days when Vladimir Tatlin and Kazimir Malevich got into fistfights over who could hang their work in the corner of the 1915 0.10 Exhibition. Yet it has come to fruition in recent years. Often the core appeal of recent art has been what the artist does with a space and how they remake it, from Ai Weiwei to Louise Bourgeois. In the finest examples, the reconstituted space is the art; for example in the sublime work of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, where you enter less a gallery than a Kafkaesque torture chamber or the hermitage of some mysterious gifted lunatic.’

On Carsten Höller’s LEBEN exhibition at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna

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