The Artist Travel Agency
Installation (wood, two computers, lightbox, red vests, nametags, paper, drawings, 3 plastic plants, postcards, framed documents)  

The Artist Travel Agency is an performative installation that questions the relationship between work and non-work related to the job as an artist.

As a young, recently graduated artist I started asking myself the question, how can I keep doing this? After a few years of hard work I realised I needed to come up with a way not to burn out, to balance my way of working or to find a way to make sure I can keep doing this for the next few decades to come. I realised very fast that this however was not just my problem but that there is a general structural system of overworking among artists and artist-workers. To be able to find an answer to these questions I build "The Artist Travel Agency".

The work collects data on what artists need to enjoy free time, where are the lines between free time and work and what conditions need to be in place in order to access free time. The project not only provides real discount tickets for artists to enjoy an affordable free time activity, but it also builds a bridge between the artistic field and a social field to share the findings of the project. Artists are often not seen as a group of interest for social organisations who give aid to people in poverty or precarity, though artists are often within their rights to make use of these services.

Exhibition: On And Off The Clock 

On and Off the Clock is an exhibition project which functions as a set, in which performative actions take place. These actions are diverse; some are discreet and apathetic, while others are affirmed by gestures and words which invoke, under these multiple designations, our cultural rituals.

Inga Gerner Nielsen deploys some of the activities of " THiS INSTiTUTE ", a nomadic institute that she herself recently founded, while Liselore Vandeput dedicates part of the space to one of the first manifestations of a new project, " The Artist Travel Agency ". The first goes in search of situations conducive to her work, the other questions the conditions of leisure. The two artists thus cross their common interests as they question the borders of their practice: a myth, a taboo, a social claim, where does it start, at which moment of the day does it end and according to which criteria, does it ever stop? What is the impact of the contractual framework on the creation, what is the impact of its absence, how to trace the modalities of conversion, which value takes the utility ? Is it a necessity, what to sacrifice, and why, in the name of the creation, … ? Questions that they formulate on a background of malicious misunderstandings, of fertile duplicity. Together and individually, they let themselves be, carried by the desires and the paradoxes that constrain them and thus take advantage of the intimate and political conditions that determine the economy of artistic practices. Having in common the ancestral symbolic institutions of proximity, both scrutinize the meshes and the escapes of an immateriality that are those of art and of life.

" THiS INSTiTUTE ", by Inga Gerner Nielsen, is thus less a place than a space-time of reinforcement of the attentions which she initiates and closes according to conditions judged appropriate, in a concern of collective maintenance tinged with cheerful activism. The stake of this practice is thus characterized by a relational approach which is established with the audiences of its performances, and through systems of addresses conceived specifically for the various social contexts, to induce sensitive modalities of the thought. Her starting scenarios take various forms, such as sessions inspired by methods of picture analysis from iconology, or trekking sessions in the vast Scandinavian expanses. Inga's work is in fact infused with the tools of self-analysis regarding the powers and formations of symbolic imaginaries, which lead her to question the heritage of her Protestant culture, both in its manifest dimensions from urban perspectives, to its most latent expressions in the depths of her aesthetic sensibilities. Through her research, she has come to probe the apparitions of singularly feminine figures and postures to note the permanent hand-to-hand reconciliations, notably the decisive influence that motherhood has had on her practice as an artist, while fearing the essentialist leanings of a complementarity of these roles.

Between the dedication as a social worker and the socio-political commitments of the artist, Liselore Vandeput perceives the risks of a dispersion of the self. This is why she has imagined, not without irony, " The Artist Travel Agency ", a project that allows her to speculate on the causes of a non-place and to consider the problematic absurdity of the productivity of free time and the precarious situation of the art workers in cultural capitalism. For the first public activation of this research destined to grow in the coming months, the fictitious and nevertheless functional travel agency is exposed by a series of elements articulated around this double workstation ; an information desk and a reservation desk, which will be sometimes taken in charge either by the artist or by two performers. A series of attributes will reinforce the mimetic aspirations of the service company.

Proposed as a scenario format that is as open as it is sensitive to the influence of context, On and Off the Clock is also an archive in progress that feeds on the dialogues between the artists and their installations over the course of the exhibition.

Pauline Hatzigeorgiou

(c) Silvia Cappellari