Ordinarily, contemporary artists take a distinctive stand in acting as participant observers of their own culture. In this issue of Parkett, however, the study of their immediate surroundings and milieu is an even more incisive source of action and inspiration.
The objects, images and films made by Jeremy Deller, Dayanita Singh, Wael Shawky, and Rosemarie Trockel reveal the workings of artistic minds that lead to some surprising reflections, including 'mirroring,' for we the public are invariably incorporated into their projects.
Referencing both past and present, our collaborating artists draw not only on meticulous research but also on immediate experience—and on the insight that 'being an artist gives you space,' as Jeremy Deller remarks in an interview quoted by Dawn Ades. Ades gives us an insight into the diversity of disciplines that underpin Deller's work, from sociology to ethnology, from history to art history. Gregory H . Williams describes the 'blank stare' of Rosemarie Trockel's ceramic piece, challenging us to reflect on the denial of self-reflection. Her couch is both inviting and repelling, both painting and sculpture, in celebration of all that we have in memory. From Chris Dercon we learn that Dayanita Singh's desire to establish an even more direct relationship to viewers motivated the shift from wall-mounted photography to presentation of the pictures on room dividers. Kaelen Wilson-Goldie points out the conflict addressed in Wael Shawky's Performance DICTUM, performed at last year's Sharjah Biennial, between the largely poor local people and a 'presumed-to-be-elite audience for contemporary art,' which was, so to speak, physically inscribed into the work.
This volume also features a performance insert by Ulla von Brandenburg, Boris Charmatz, Marvin Gaye Chetwyn, Anna Gaskell, Liz Magic Laser, Marcello Maloberti, Sarah Michelson, Adam Pendleton, Amalia Pice, Alexandra Pirici, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Ugo Rondinone.