K.Ö.N.I.G./K.Ö.N.I.G Dienst am Kunden - Nr.1

29. Oktober – 1. November 1998

Concept: Anne Schlöpke

Written contribution to the exhibition K.Ö.N.I.G, Dienst am Kunden:

Culture is the collection of different views of individuals (e.g. visual artists) who refuse to accept objective reality without further ado, and who offer a personal alternative for it. Artists move in the space of free connection, association and synthesis. They collect, analyze, research, and ultimately propose a new arrangement. Artists are mobile. They leave their workshops in search of sources and sites for their unique site-specific works. They are outdoor space creators. Art surprises, takes us by surprise, by appearing in a context that can never be predicted. Since artists have adopted commercial strategies, they are able to operate from 'real life' market positions. The confusion this creates for the audience opens up a new outlet.

Advertising, as well as art, uses the lever of seduction and promise. Art and advertising both suggest and manipulate. The goal of advertising, however, is to influence consumer behavior directly and in a quantitatively perceptible way, where art intends a long-term effect (affect) on the quality of the recipients' actions, perception and consciousness. Artists first represent the detail, the detail, the inconspicuous, the context, the immaterial. They practice the trade of exposing the poetic in the prosaic environment. In the public sphere they develop, playfully, into 'detail-crafters'. The works of art want to reflect rather than communicate: they mirror (something to) the viewers. In this way, they draw the attention of passers-by to the art. In this way, artists contribute to and provide a service to the social perspective.

To be noticed, the artist needs chameleonic qualities and skills.

Artists are meant to be and remain nimble and therefore have no interest in a practical or theoretical specialty. The intellectual omnivores among contemporary artists are the most survivable. Specialization can be temporarily useful insofar as it is project-specific. It is useful only when it benefits the sharpness of the final 'picture'. If artists do specialize, it is in the field of cultivating their own astonishment.

Arnold Schalks, Rotterdam, January 31, 1998