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Helsinki Encounters

The Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki Library, Finland

5-29 Nov 2019

The main evidence of a piece of art proper is if one encountering it has difficulties recognizing it immediately as a piece of art, puzzling instead as to whether it is art or not really – this is not my thought, but of the classic Moscow conceptualist Andrey Monastyrsky. This is the first thing. 

The second is the magical 'King Midas effect' of an artist's hand: everything it touched turns into gold. An apocryphal story about Pablo Picasso tells how he, when ordering furniture for his new house, drew a quick sketch for the cabinet-maker and asked for the price of the piece. The cabinet-maker replied that the cabinet would cost nothing, if Picasso just signed the sketch (this kind of ‘magic’ was, of course, properly 'disenchanted' later by Peter Bürger as a mere function of the 'institution of art’). 

The third is the short note Marcel Duchamp made in his notebook in 1913, posing the question of whether it is possible to make a piece of art that would not be art. 

These three controversial premises shaped the idea of this exhibition, for which I’ve been collecting some drawings, objects, or even oral utterances by art people I encountered with here in Helsinki. These occasional ‘objects’, never meant by these artists themselves to be artworks (or recognized by them as such) I decided to turn into artworks proper, rendering them the ‘assisted ready-mades’ status, using the elementary devices of ‘naming’ and ‘framing’. 

The result of this slightly playful exercise is meant as nothing other than dedication to my colleagues and friends I encountered with during my stay in Helsinki.

Text: Ilya Orlov

Works exhibited:

Minna Henriksson and Ilya Orlov. The Route from the Academy of Fine Arts to The Finnish Immigration Service Office. 2019. Ink on paper.

Matthew Cowan and Ilya Orlov. Water that Swirls in the Opposite Direction When Poured down a Sink. 

2019. Bottled water, 500 ml.

Mika Elo and Ilya Orlov. Dialogue on Art. 2019. Text, framed.

Steve Maher, Anastasia Artemeva, and Ilya Orlov. Magic Flute. 2019. Dolmetsch Treble flute; a quotation from Mozart’s Magic Flute libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, framed.

Lea Kantonen and Ilya Orlov. Autumn Semester. 2019. Wool, knitting, framed.

Gregoire Rousseau and Ilya Orlov. Pillow. 2019. Wood, metal screws, sharpened.


Special thanks: Art Foundation Merita

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