”No Opposition – No Movement”

Infr’Action Venezia stands out in its immediate context as a non-funded, humble and low key event, adressing itself to those appreciating an art that goes beyond the label and the frame.

Infr’Action Venezia is a moment when the art worlds’ nomenklatura, the Basel crowd, comes close to an ephemeral and intuitive art form that has no intention to entertain. Infr’Action Venezia’s proximity to the art world’s establishment lasts for four days and takes place every second year. We think that is enough. Its ambition is equal to that of the water, just to be, to exist and flow. Nothing more, nothing less. Just being there with intentions, attitudes, significations and reflections, clearly opposite to those of the Basel crowd.

If the notion of l’art pour l’art (or art for art’s sake) ever had an avant-garde validity it must be in our time. In an era when art is more a commodity than anything else, an investment or a decorative design object with an added value. Where Basel, Miami and Hong Kong are hyped as art centres despite being anything else. A time when avant-garde experiments have ceased, art movements are no longer and the idea of the avant-garde is dissolved or replaced by ranking lists. Like on a McDonald’s Worker of the Month tableau, invented by some official from the former Eastern Bloc.

Arts’ final function as decoration and bank value is legimitized in a society where everything goes… a context in which an academic tasteless taste dominates giving an accurate reflection of a society with no empathy. Surrounded by objects in an ongoing spectacle, that of the wannabes of the 1 %.

The theme of this third edition of Infr’Action Venezia is Recess. It is a humble term with multi-layered significations. Especially in regard to the specific context where it takes place. Four days when thought and reflection has capitulated.

Recess carries with it an image that correponds quite well with Infr’Action Venezia, as a hollowed out space in an anotherwise firmly flat and sacred erected white wall, or as a little bit sunken area forming an alternative space in between the Walls, as the residual areas of Gordon Matta-Clark’s groundbreaking work from 1973 Reality Properties: Fake Estates.

Recess is as a term linked to performance art in many ways, not only in regard to its position in contemporary art, but also to time and human action. As a moment during which the usual work routine is suspended, a momentary halt in an activity, a moment intended for reconsideration, a pause which can result in something else, maybe in a change of direction or judgment, a verdict. As a moment of pause, just before the unknown enters...
If recessed means a concave shape with a references to Aristotles idea of ”being concave”, we all know what recession mean…. Since 7 years it is a fashionable word and universally used to describe what is a natural economic state of the poor. Not only in Greece, but in many other developed countries. A term synonymous to a reversal of action and associated with the notion of bankcruptcy, collapse, decline, downturn, hard times, and of course unemployment… preceding a depression. But still, it is just a word.

However, there is also an obvious recession in contemporary art. Something that we have witnessed for some time. Of course it is not of an economic kind. It is a much broader artistic and structural recession that has established itself as a result of an absence of opposing artistic paradigms. If history always have witnessed an opposition between different art forms and their representatives; artists, critics or other intellectuals, this opposition has since decades vanished. It was as José Pierre so well noted in his book Pop Art (1977) the very essence of the avant-garde, the paradigmatic struggle between art movements. As such the avant-garde and its inherent attitude of opposition has been pacified. There are no sides, no ideas or esthetics to be fought for. There is just a mainstream of harmony. So to speak, the avant-garde or cutting-  edge has dissappeared, with the conditions for its definition. There is no longer any Marcel Duchamp to go all the way out….

The need of an opposition, the need of movement, of something else has been felt for some time. We do need to make a halt, to take a pause, to reconsider what is actually happening. What is going on and what we are doing, where we are going ? This is the theme of Infr’Action Venezia in 2015. A year when its curator is on strike. On strike to be able to reflect and think, to analyze and observe. To be, just like water. To be in movement. To be in opposition.

Jonas STAMPE, curator Infr’Action Venezia