DSL Collection MANIFESTO

Written by fontaine b.

INTRODUCTION

This Manifesto for the DSL Collection is a statement, a tool, a way to discover a new perspective.

This Manifesto is a body of content that will initiate a wider communication with the public : a communication that will take shape through the act of producing, sending and sharing different content each month in order to explain and deepen the mission of DSL Collection.

This Manifesto aims to flip the perception of art, deconstructing the old and inspiring a new vision and sensitivity. The act of collecting and the value of the collection, initiating an immediate transformation, are guiding the viewer to seeing new meanings. Intending to counter the public’s present short attention span, the Manifesto suggests a new approach/vision/inspiration conceived to direct this ephemeral moment to a profound understanding.

Using new tools and media as catalysts and above all, allowing accessibility to the collection and its meanings, the art works and its references, the Manifesto follows the Collection in valuing interactive and participatory approaches and refining the traditional and crystallized relationships between art and its audience.


THE MANIFESTO


DSL Collection DECONSECRATES art

By deconsecrating the public’s approach to art, limiting the intimidation by art, countering art as an elitist, exclusive means and fostering invitation to see, feel, create, admire, collect.

By deconsecrating the collection: the act of collecting and its outcome. Instead, create a graspable, enjoyable, achievable heritage.

By deconsecrating the artwork from holy object to pure meaning: recognizing its value as a witness of an act, as a proof of the spirit of the times, as the manifestation of the collective aesthetics and sensitivities.

Art ceases to be a luxury item holding an outdated system of references, rather it shines as an incredible source of inspiration and intellectual wealth.

By observing a sense of passion, through sorrow and zeal, constructing a collection, which delivers a sense of new profane proximity with the viewer, the public, the community.

Zhang Huan, “Foam”, 1998, C-print, 15 works 152.4x101.6cm each (courtesy of DSL Collection)

Zhang Huan, “Foam”, 1998, C-print, 15 works 152.4x101.6cm each (courtesy of DSL Collection)


DSL Collection believes in PROGRESS 

The innovation challenges the status quo. The Collection doesn't intend to change but rather inspire a new logic, beyond the frame, investigating new parameters.

Progress serves art; technological advancement is a tool to perceive art in an easier, better and more thorough way. DSL collection draws the scenario of new meanings which will portray the future, starting from the present situation asset.

As the past tubular mail, Internet is now present everywhere, opening access and reaching once anonymous doors. Through new virtual media and methods of communication and diffusion, the collection strengthens the distribution of ideas, theories and inspiration to embrace a new approach.

Virtual and Augmented Reality grant an altered way to perceive art, fostering a new kind of proximity, granting the collection a strong sense of cohesiveness. The possibility to experience anything, anywhere and anytime, though a controlled curatorial insight on works collected and brought in common dialogue, going beyond our spacial dimensions and limitations. VR and AR offer not only a new way of exposing, but also of creating, of generating reality. A reality, which can also be attained by reliefography, giving a chance to masterpieces to travel and be seen in a cloned physicality. 

But overall, the Collection rouses the development of a new logic, a new way of acting, marching towards an improved and more advanced condition.

Cao Fei, “RMB City”, 2007, interactive multimedia installation (courtesy of DSL Collection)

Cao Fei, “RMB City”, 2007, interactive multimedia installation (courtesy of DSL Collection)


DSL Collection INSPIRES: 

By activating curiosity, spreading ideas. Ergo primarily a collection of ideas, DSL Collection delivers content through new media, expanding a collective vision.

It is the new media then, taking over, initiating a dialogue which comes before the objects.

By taking the lead in using innovative means to share the collection. Perceiving, adapting, aspiring towards new technologies, and inciting new progressive thinking.

Building upon established convictions of the 20th century, the Collection converts their essence to our days. Marcel Duchamp’s portable museum acquires a new meaning with a virtual reality set allowing to visit the DSL Collection, the Fluxus diffusion of material is being managed through skillful manipulation of virtual networks. 

By creating, adopting and cradling ideas, valuing and spreading them. 

As a windmill feeding on thoughts and concepts, existing or newly revealed, the collection embraces and transforms them into new matter and new ways to « consume » art.

By supporting disruptions, keeping a dynamic and flexible position. Understanding and adjusting to changes, learning from the past, working for the future, yet living in the present.

By favoring the art of the present, creating a vibrant collection, from works with alive, vivid spirit.

Ding Yi, “Appearances of crosses (triptych), 2001, acrylic on tartan, 3rd of 3 works (260x140cm) (Courtesy of DSL Collection)

Ding Yi, “Appearances of crosses (triptych), 2001, acrylic on tartan, 3rd of 3 works (260x140cm) (Courtesy of DSL Collection)


DSL Collection believes in the FLUX 

Flux as an artistic movement and act of the past, but also as the re-evaluated action of DSL Collection: DSL solidifies the flux action by publishing and spreading ideas, visions, content, and through the use of technology and the media of our times.

The idea of « flux »  suggesting a “flow” and an “effluent”: continual change. The « flux » is the origin of Fluxus movement of the 1960’s, which focused on the action, on the phenomenology of the act, and on the diffusion of information.

DSL Collection is in a state of flux, flowing, sharing, enacting, committing to a group. Flowing - as adjusting; flowing - as disseminating; flowing - as free sharing of ideas. Flowing - as Fluxus, and Fluxus - as an attitude.

The works of art are a place of interaction between the artist and the viewer. The collection is therefore an organized gathering of constant exchange amongst the artists, the audience and the collector.

The works of art are a democratic form of creativity available to everyone. The collection is thus a playground for flourishing imagination.

The works of art are works of life. No walls should be placed between art and reality. The collection crosses art and life in a new kind of reality, the virtual reality. 

Art is meant to be consumed by all the people, without requiring particle accreditation. 

Art infiltrates. 

Art is a complex organism in which ideas, behaviors, sensitivities and media blend together contributing to a new vision.

He An, An instant of my purity is worth a lifetime of your lies, Installation, Lightbox and LED Lights , 120 x 120 x 10 cm 2014 (Courtesy of DSL Collection)

He An, An instant of my purity is worth a lifetime of your lies, Installation, Lightbox and LED Lights , 120 x 120 x 10 cm 2014 (Courtesy of DSL Collection)


DSL Collection is a COMMUNITY 

By creating a virtual common ground for individuals with common interests to interact and exchange.

In times where physical distances are not as restrictive, people display a need for attachment. DSL Collection attracts like-minded individuals to circulate around one common fire. People bring ideas, and ideas create changes.

By collecting ideas before objects. Artworks are a cluster of choices made by an artist, and a collection is a cluster of choices of the collector. Adapting this conceptual perspective, DSL Collection choses the collect choices, thoughts, impressions, ideas. 

By interacting with the audience, for all community is sharing, is giving and receiving. Emitting signals, and accepting the replies, the collection does not stay indifferent to suggestions. 

By adopting an evolving state of constant flux, the collection creates a flexible community of contributing individuals.

By being an active ecosystem of inspirational ideas, operating in hyper-communication and innovation to suggest and ultimately gain a higher level of access to art.

Xue Song, “Bamboo”, 2013, 7 screen video installation (Courtesy of DSL Collection)

Xue Song, “Bamboo”, 2013, 7 screen video installation (Courtesy of DSL Collection)


DSL Collection lives in the ZEITGEIST

Zeit-geist is time. Zeit-geist is spirit. Zeit-geist is now. 

By collecting. By the act of gathering the samples of the present in order to create a portrait of the times. 

By collecting Chinese contemporary art, a country leading the XXI century economically, strategically. By registering the very change in collecting attitudes from the strong focus on the Western contemporary scene to the Eastern.

By limiting the collection to a set number of artworks finely tuned with the Zeitgeist.

By embracing the technology of now, translating its potential into a new form of diffusion to empower cultural exchange. 

By gathering a community of like minded individuals, that resonate on an invisible frequency, which depicts the spirit of our age. 

By adapting to the changes times, keeping flexible and trusting the future generations. 

By inspiring the history being formed now. 

Xu Tan, “Uniform velocity”, 1992, mixed media installation (Courtesy of DSL Collection)

Xu Tan, “Uniform velocity”, 1992, mixed media installation (Courtesy of DSL Collection)

ALL IS SUBJECTIVE ALL IS OBJECTIVE

Written by Gabriela A. Covblic

Introductory text by Chiara Valci Mazzara

Text will be published in the upcoming issue of Doc! photomagazine.


Introduction

A moment in time. A suspended time lapse. Photography is -by nature- led by some sense of urgency to isolate frame in time.

The 'interior landscapes' by Mia Gourvitch and Urs Lüthi are developing this urgency into a further step. The depiction of the moment is enhanced by the choice to isolate, a volume suspended in time as well, a space between and contained by walls: a living room, a bedroom, a bar.

Through the use of the black and white technique and the choice of perspective, the artists succeed on constructing an atmosphere by representing the whole through the particular: picturing the complexity of the surroundings through a detail, giving relevance to the atmosphere through the intimacy of a chosen room.

Both authors choose spaces, which are at the same time public - since visited and lived, experienced by different people: hotel rooms, bar, living rooms of friends and acquaintances - and private - since perceived at the same time by the different guests as their own cause of a juncture, an occasion belonging to a moment. Back then, right at those very moment, they experienced something, they left a trace -an obvious one as the objects belonging to a person in the space of a living room (as for Urs Lüthi), or hidden as the blankets un-arranged when the guest left the hotel room (as for Mia Gourvitch).

The pictures are materialising the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; the indefinite and continuous duration is regarded as that in which events succeed one another.

People staying and passing by in the hotel rooms, bars and living rooms create traces as footprints of their journey. The landscapes are mirroring a choice of perspective as well as a system of references valid in the past but relevant for the future.

The photographers are isolating a time lapse: the objects and the subjects are 'populating' the stage through the use of light and the depiction of the volumes.

In Gourvitch's works the objects, acquiring a relevance given by the absence of human subjects (in Gourvitch's works the passage of the guest is only represented by the position of the blankets, the door left open, the pillow piled up or not re-arranged properly) are evoking the consciousness of a liminal space held by a sense of variability.

The human presence, in the images by Lüthi, is held by the self portrait of the artist himself, by looking at the camera, giving the back to the other people in the picture, who are located in the foreground as parts of a human scenography. Lüthi appears as protagonist, he occupies the main stage, almost coming out of the photograph - he's looking directly at the camera - giving the idea to be about to commence a dialogue with the viewer, but still depicting himself inside the frame, engaging with the viewer as the main referent of a surreal landscape.

As a result, the time is folded, underlined and only apparently reduced to one photographic space.

The individuals present in the pictures and the intimacy given by them occupying a room, as in Lüthi the bars areas and as in Gourvitch picture Prologue, construct an ephemeral moment, an alternate time lapse.They are - depicted in the background by Urs Lüthi or from above by Mia Gourvitch -  at the same time, protagonist and non-protagonist. They are populating the scene, commuting to represent the atmosphere.

The instant is steady in time: at the bar people are sitting or waiters are looking beyond the counter appearing almost detached, as being there but not engaging with the camera shutter. The gathering in Prologue is represented from above as from an alternate perspective, looking down at them, being free not to be immersed in the moment but to taste it from above, isolating the flavour of the end of a day, of the encounter. The artist is there but not there, steals a moment while re-framing it, bending the time and isolating the 'transitory'.

Sometimes, the works by Gourvitch and Lüthi, are then organised through a narrative layout -consisting in different shots organised together in a unique frame- on the attempt to deliver a deeper understanding of the whole of the space and a wider perception of the ambiance enclosed between the walls, with this light, at that moment.

The artists are both accompanying us on a journey…


Capturers of glances, photographers Urs Lüthi and Mia Gourvitch hunt down moments in time sizing images from life. Yet, in spite of the liberty of the eye, the perception of the observer is also confined to the objective position of the camera. Nonetheless, both artists tend to escape the state of passive viewers to that of active creators, constantly passing the border of the photographic lens, from art to life and back.

As in much of the oeuvre of Urs Lüthi, the terms of Life and Art in Un’insola nell aria (1975) are blurred, mainly by the presence of the artist in quality of the protagonist, but also as the creator. Urs Lüthi’s main motif, that of himself, is present from his very first photographic series in 1969 where he is posing in front of Piazza del Duomo in Milan, changing such identities as a passerby, an onlooker, an outsider. Describing this early series, Max Wechsel asserts that “Lüthi still shows himself as an unworldly creature, mingling with the human beings: a surprised observer of their seemingly aimless activity.” (1) Unsurprisingly, in Un’insola nell aria Lüthi applies the same attitude, he is present in every shot, physically or through the means of his artworks. The series was in fact created to portray a period from his life, mixing intimate and public moments. On one photograph we see the artist/character in a tender embrace with his lover, in another, he is sitting alone in a bar, in a third, he is photographing the viewers of his own exhibition, his self-portraits naturally hanging on the wall. But his excessive presence leads to an opposite effect. Lüthi, in a very direct way, is superimposing the artist and the motif, to a degree that they become indistinguishable. The artist’s body, mind and intention is so immediate that it becomes therefore an intrinsic part of the artwork itself, and thus, not identified as a presence holding a separate meaning. Simultaneously, the concept of the artist as an observer and creator is also eradicated, consequently, once more, re-appropriating the concept of the creation to life.

On a fundamentally opposite path, the work of Mia Gourvitch is leaving a trace of anonymity. Her eye is sensed, yet never seen. Most of her photographs do not show figures, instead they portray remnants of a once passing human presence. The series Layover Dreams (2016), created in what she calls “orphaned hotel rooms” disposes of elements inherited from life, but which are also reconditioned into a surreal decor. The artist photographed hotels which have ceased operations and have been left untouched for over two years. Made and unmade beds, at a first look, evoke a change, a then and now, however the spaces and the objects are not in use, they simply lay there, awaiting. However, and in contrast to Lüthi, the photographs of Gourvitch also offer a liberty to the viewer of understanding and reacting to them in a personal way. The artist leaves space for imagination. Acting as an observer, a collector of human traces, an archeologist of a kind, Gourvitch simply captured the spaces at her disposal, no doubt believing they must exist outside of time, thus, as writer Hemda Rosenbaum wrote about Gourvitch’s eponymous exhibition “The works address the inherent finality of the situation by offering moments that seem suspended in time” (2). Yet Gourvitch is not reporting, she is creating. As much as the premises are left untouched, as an evidence of some kind, Gourvitch actively left her own trace through the editing technique she adopted. The photographs are blacked out, light is contrasted, some of the details she witnessed were erased. Layover Dreams is a series based on an intentional, but invisible mise en scene. The traces of life are swept into giving space to art, where the anonymity of the artist is not but an impression at first glimpse, because her touch has infiltrated every layer of the work. Like in Lüthi’s photographs, the artist, as an observer crosses the limit of the lens and becomes an active character, nevertheless differently still, for what is seen is not a reflection of the artist as a character, but of “echoes of mental subliminal states” (3) that she sensed and shared.

In the two series in question, Un’insola nell aria of Urs Lüthi and Layover Dreams of Mia Gourvitch, the artists seem to point their lenses into similar directions - we can observe interior landscapes, decoration objects, doors, lights, lamps as well as, of course, the signature use of black and white photography  - nonetheless, at a further look, the works are inherently different - Lüthi’s core line is the self portrait, else using foreign humain figures while Gourvitch limits her representation to non human elements. Even though both series are haunted by an absent presence, this is transmitted through divergent intentions. Lüthi’s series, though populated by humans, they are in essence passerby, en passage. On further notes, he portrays his own portraits on the walls, the artist is thus present and absent at the same time. Gourvitch, on the other hand, brings about questions non-existent in Lüthi’s photographs, questions of incognito possessions, of unidentified times and presences, delayed, yet lingering. The objects in these hotel rooms do not belong to anyone, not to the past, not to the new dwellers, they simply exist within their actuality. Even so, one can not help by notice that these works are oscillating around the border of the photographic lens, bringing up a question of ambiguity, a back and forth, as a mirror that lets you pass from one world to the other, from life to art, but also, from objectivity to subjectivity. Things are not what they seem to be, and probably, neither are what they seem not to be. Expectedly, Lüthi declares “Perhaps the most significant and creative aspect of my work is ambivalence as such … Objectivity … is not important to me; all is objective just as all could be subjective.” (4)

The question of the ambiguity is fundamental to Lüthi’s art and Un’insola nell aria is a clear witness to this intention and not only through the substance of androgyny. In an interview with the French newspaper Libération Lüthi once publicly announced that “the androgyny, in itself, has never been (his) subject. The sexual ambiguity is, for (him), the ambivalence which we carry inside of us.” (5) For all that, this ambivalence of wanting to be one and the other, of wanting to be here and there can also been seen through the constant use of the mise en abîme. The term initially associated with heraldry, it literally means to be placed into abyss, and in art is the act of portraying a work of art within the scheme of another. Typical for the swiss artist, he uses and reuses his own works of art to be further placed into new series. (3) In Un’insola nell aria, we can see the self-portraits or the artist being exhibited in exhibitions, or simply hung on walls. Yet again, the artist doesn’t place himself in a particular position, but fluctuates in an ambivalent dance of being the One and the Other simultaneously.

And a similar concept in hidden in Mia Gourvitch’s work Prologue (2015), which contrary to Layover Dreams is actively portraying time through human figure. Part of the series Evolution of a Poem, this work “was born out of an encounter with the poet Tuvya Ruebner, and it is based on one of his poems (Blur your tracks)” tells us Ms. Gourvitch. In essence a digital collage, this photograph assembles and disassembles moments in time captured by the photographer, thus folding a number of moments of time into one. But this photograph is also indirectly portrait. It portrays the life, the space, the surroundings of a poet, who at his turn portrays the surroundings of a culture he represents, a culture which Gourvitch is part of. A portrait of an artist, within the portrait of a poet.

Art for a better life is the title of a retrospective exhibition of Urs Lüthi’s work shown at the Rath Museum in Geneva, in 2002, twenty seven years after the creation of Lüthi’s  series Un’insola nell aria. Even so, these words are already shining through the beginning of Lüthi’s photographic career starting in 1969, bringing up his sense of reality - acquired, adopted, developed and later changed. Taking up different characters, acquiring different versions of the same reality, the artist is trying out ways to find the best of the possible renderings. In a similar way, the photographs of Mia Gourvitch discern a desire for a reinvention of life. The heavy use of post production altering the elements of reality, though leaving them as part of life is not longing for a complete disappearance of the real, rather, for a sort of an upgrade, using art as means to readjust reality. Both artists are sending elements of life across as products of their own creativity, thus blurring the borders in between reality and creation, life and art.

(1) Max Sechs, Urs Lüthi: Life as an ambivalent Art figure between Eccentricity and Normality. In: “Urs Lüthi, ART FOR A BETTER LIFE from Placebos & Surrogates. XLIX BIENNALE DI VENEZIA”, 2001.

(2) Hemda Rosenbaum, Text for the exhibition Layover Dreams, 2016. Part of WAS Biennale, Berlin, Curator: Chiara Valci Mazzara

(3) ibid.

(4) Lea Vergine, Il corpo come linguaggio, (La “Body-Arte e storie simili), Milano, Giampaolo Preardo, 1974.

(5) Quanq-Tri Tran Diep, Urs Lüthi, exposition à coeur ouvert, in Libération 09/07/1994







“i + you = us”

Text for the exhibition of Ann Noel at FREEHOME written by Chiara Valci Mazzara

Oh! Ann, was on my way to YOU today and couldn't read what wrote on my notepad.
The white pages were too bright with the sun, sitting on the train, going west.

Now got to know YOU. We share thoughts.

walk through your street with the confidence one has arriving to a known place... still, the pages of my notepad are too bright to read them.
did eleven steps as turned the corner, the letter ' ' is the eleventh of the alphabet. (Numbers can be tools to serve the words...)

am trying to read again the questions prepared...thinking about your work and your ideas as continuous flow, like a watermark in colours. ...feels like don't really need notes now.
Maybe only words would be better: questions always point somewhere and we want to be free to roam around over here... even just around a word or a letter... like if we were pivotal little bodies?

In my notes each and every topic involves a word, which starts with the letter ' i 'think there's no better start...

The words are never shy, one only has to listen. And to treat them well.

Sometimes they can't be found, but many times they're merging together: and they make complete sense.

The words are formed by letters and the letters, well, they've got a strong character.

Do you remember how you told me about the ' i ' you choose for each of your friends? Each one had his or her ' ' portrait.
Now think about it all the time.
dismantle the fonts of the advertising signs walking along the street.

meet a person and i wonder which kind, shape, outline, colour and thickness could have his very own ' ' (portrait).
But think that not to every person suits an ' '.
is all of YOU. And all of YOU is me.

am not sure if one should include all of the people in an ' '. Maybe it is only relevant to include the brightest 'YOU'. The people one can share with. As YOU did, as in a state of flow, working, processing ideas, sharing, encountering artists who became friends.
'YOUs' are important as we said, they are the whole of each ' ' and that is not ephemeral, it is crucial.

Somebody, then, can be an 'H' (that comes before ' i ') and function as a bridge (like between two straight lines, between two persons). And somebody can be an ' L ', so only be there for himself (showing an angle, staying there in this corner, not really committing maybe? But is good as well, brings a frame – or an angle? – to the table, right next to the wine corks).

So –eventually – very few, but a beautiful bright group, can be ' ' ... : all of YOU, is all of me comma ' '.

Wasn't it like that with your 'YOUs', in Berlin many years ago, sharing, inspiring, and flowing in a state of flux? That was real life, life together with a community of YOU(s).
Colours of flux.
Colours:
Blue for the day.
Red and orange to drink and eat.
Green for money.

i–1.(Works and words with ' i '):

Your fascination for the letters.
The semiotic, the semantic, the shape, the outline.
The Concrete Poetry.
The form, the content of ' ': the most (apparently) insignificant letter, there's a line and a dot.
' seems to react to the seventies, when the 'me generation' was about self–absorption. People were concerned solely with themselves.
' as a character, as graphic sign looking like a person, mirrors the artist. Mirrors the person.
' is the good letter to start from. To turn the table upside down, revolving around a sense of 'me' as collectivism.
We were having coffee and we were speaking about the 'me generation' in desperate need of irony: an irony led by the urge to invent, with playfulness.
One had not to take one self so seriously, than each idea is lighter, comes across smoothly and takes shape vibrantly, goes directly where it should. From the hyperuranion of a merely intellectual thinking to a deeper understanding: while sharing.
Humour must be there, a visual one as well. As Emmett said: a 'cosmological humour', so a kind anybody can grasp and play with. Like an encounter between cultures and people, where the best things in life are still free.
Dieter Roth told you once that an artist should have 10 ideas a day. I believe you get much more than that, Ann?
Any image –to you– can be shaped by super–imposing words or your very self on pictures, in your works.
Further on, typography and calligraphy are drawing the outlines. The colours cyan, yellow, blue and magenta are blending while the thinking process organises them in a rainbow.
A system of meta–meanings is there, where the colours are the symptoms. And from the idea on, you embrace the unexpected, the intention is there, but the outcome is untamed.
The instructions, the process you have in mind, permit a trace to direct your ideas, recording the path.
So the flow is there, not hidden but unravelled through your diary: those 2 meters and 30 centimetres of colours hold within an entire world of references.

i–2.(More word with ' i '):

You write since a long, long time a diary each and every day. You write about yesterday, today.
The diary is a diary of names and encounters.
One after the other, after the other, times others, times colours.

The colours are occupying the different hours of the day: IN VINO VERITAS, interlacing inputs.
One is what one eats.
There's identity and encounters of minds in your diary. Flowing as in a CONFLUX : when artists are living among others, a real life, reciprocity becomes a mutual duty, oscillating the basis, inspiring each other.

The colours of FLUXUS are colours as people.

i–3. ( 'Incognito improvement, ' i ', ' i ', ...performances as act of a reluctant you...):
Being Incognito aims to a hidden signifier, the wish in there, revolves around a self–effacing desire.

But the public is too important. It engages. The performance is the duration of an act and it extends to the viewer.
Many words can define us, many can describe an ' '.
From the visual poetry, through the act of printing and following a constant progress of ideas, the words are formed.

They punctuate your performing act.
Reluctant to perform, but there by choice, you are moving and speaking in front of you(s). The nuances of the words are activating your ideas. You do something that is you.
Animating contents, you create recipients of your perception among the people in the public. The flux involves the person, relying on the element of constant change to meet an unexpected outcome. The improvement happens through a process and there... following the score, there you are.

Overall, I asked you questions in this letter of mine. Some ' 's are there, but as often happens, there are more ' ? ' s.
But if you think about – know you know better than me– the question mark isn't an upside-down ' ' ? Only a little more curved.
(i saw it in your works as well. i like its shape)

Maybe is just that the ' ? ' was up until late last night. So it feels a little upside down, and stands loosely. Like me today. Like when one asks oneself questions at night.
At night.

Blue.