This exhibition has the title “Drama of Consensus” and we are going to talk
about it starting from one of the two main works that Jennifer is showing here
and then move on to the other piece, which is not activated at the moment
because it’s a video piece that you can see afterwards.
So, I would like to start from the series, the photographic series you're showing,
the "Documentation Series" that you can see here next to us and then in the next
room. This is part of a selection of a larger series of photographs that you took
as an exhibition photographer for other artist’s exhibitions. So you present shots
that are actually meant to come to life as a record or as documentation, but then
making this kind of conceptual shift and showing them as part of your work and
your research on the exhibition as a desired space.
I wanted to ask you how this came about and which position this has in your
practice of reflecting on how spaces are constructed and what is the kind of
investment in terms of desire, imagination, or experiences that artists produce
within their work.
Jennifer: (...) as an artist, before even taking on or doing the job as an exhibition
photographer, before taking on this vocation, I've also been staging
performances that question what it is, that we're doing as artists and what
this project is, in terms of the human animal, as I like to say after having
read Donna Haraway, to put things into a biological context; We as beings need
exhibitions for some reason or another. Since 15 years now, this has been a
persistent question in my head and since 12 years I'm doing exhibition photography,
as a job to be able to support myself as an artist, to earn my living.
I also like this thing of being immersed in the community with other artists.
Serving other artists with pictures that I can take of their work, doing this
over the course of 12 years, made this question even more persistent: why are we
doing this, as artists? And why are people coming to see it, as viewers? What is
the desire behind it, is the question that came up. I hope this would answer the
Jennifer: Well then, over the course of time, I came to look at these photographs as
windows into private lives or private imaginary spaces of these authors.
Something that people are sharing with us and that when you look at it as
an overview or as a comparison, something else happens. This shift is very
interesting to me.
Then last year I wanted to share this overview that I acquired for myself,
in an exhibition at Kunstverein Kärnten in Klagenfurth. But as my subjective
selection of images that I took over the years. So I wrote the artists, asking
them if it's OK for me to choose a motif of their work, and share them in an
exhibition of my own.
Beatrice: Yes, and what I like that this multiplies the possibilities of your exhibition
here, because of embedding traces that bring an echo of other spaces.
In that way, you involve a multiple view, that also has influenced your work
of thinking about your own desired space in your own exhibition spaces.
I like the idea of tackling this network that came about through a job that
you didn't think of initially, as your art practice - that of an exhibition
photographer, but then turning it into a personal study. In that way there is
an echo and there are traces that enter in this space.
The decision to show them in this form, encarved into acoustic foam, adds
another layer and creates more distance but also makes them more sensual.
Because when I see them now, I can see that there is something also very
personal, that is not just documentation, but it becomes more atmospheric.
An excerpt from a conversation between Beatrice Forchini and Jennifer Gelardo.
On the Implications of Exhibition Documentation in the Framework of the Independent Space Index Festival, Vienna, and the Exhibition “Drama of Consensus”, June 4th 2023