How do we define what an artwork is? The answer to this question can be traced via the system of artwork valorization, which defines, values and places the artwork in a larger social context while simultaneously inscribing it into the genealogy of art history. One of the fundamental problems of the art world and the art market is their attachment to the original as some kind of fetish, which of course, is evaluated with all of society’s fetishes and installed into a specific hierarchical valorization.
The project Buy Your Own Art Experience exposes these issues. The project consists of five performances documented in photographs. Visitors have a chance to either purchase a performance or a photograph of a performance. Those who buy the performance will have the possibility to participate in the real performative act. On the contrary, if one decides to buy a photograph (object), the performances will be interrupted and the final result of the project will be an object-photograph as a pure commercial artefact. Thus the buyer will be faced with the fact that s/he can consciously activate the process of context alienation, which cancels the performative element of the project by transforming it into an object.
The Leban/Kleindienst’s artistic practice is characterized by intermedia interdisciplinarity that is reflected in the critical analysis of the systems of valorization (in the arts and in other fields), contemporary migration, new forms of colonialism and other phenomena occurring within the changing social formation. Through art and theory, Leban/Kleindienst intervene into specific systems with the aim to establish contemporary critical tools that enable to rearticulate the ever more complex social reality.
About the Artists
Sebastjan Leban is working in the field of art and theory. He is a co-founder and co-editor of Reartikulacija and is a lecturer of Radical Critical Analysis at the Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) in Ljubljana. His artistic practice involves the collaboration with Stas Kleindienst and the group Reartikulacija. He has exhibited in numerous national and international exhibitions, participated in many symposiums and had texts published in several different publications. He is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the Institute of Philosophy at SRC of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Stas Kleindienst works in the field of art and theory in collaboration with Sebastjan Leban and is a member and a co-fouder of the group Reartikulacija. He has exhibited in numerous exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad and has had texts published in different publications. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
Image courtesy the artists.