Leila Anglade, Alison Lowry, Alex Pentek, Belinda Quirke
As part of RE/MAINS OF THE DAZE: an exhibition in three courses at the Goethe- Institut, c. 200 presents a response to Lucy Lippard’s series of ‘Numbers’ exhibitions’ between 1969-1974, in the Return Gallery and various locations in Dublin.
Lippard’s 2,972,453 exhibition (1971) used suitcases to transport the artworks and assembly instructions to Centro de Arte y Comunicación in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The idea of an exhibition in a suitcase underpins the ‘dematerialized’ and easily deployable approach to curating c. 200. Echoing Lippard’s desire to avoid ‘precious object syndrome’, the show uses materials that are transient and easily discarded.
Lippard favoured the blurring of lines between artist and curator and frequently referred to herself as a ‘compiler’. The by-passing of the regular gallery system with its inherent commodification of art led her to curate exhibitions on the margins of the art system, a theme explored in c. 200. In the Return Gallery, 200 empty cardboard boxes have been stacked into a tower and then deliberately toppled to represent the number of cultural institutions and galleries in Ireland that have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Two adboxes near the Goethe-Institut’s premises in Dublin display parts of c. 200 ‘outside of the frame’. In addition, images of the cardboard boxes with iconic red ‘Closed to Public’ stickers have been photographed throughout Ireland outside closed art institutions.
For 2,972,453, the participating artists who could not travel to Buenos Aires to install their work scrawled their installation instructions on index cards for gallery staff. The ‘catalogue’ for c. 200 presents a series of unbound index cards with selections of handwritten quotations from Lippard and others, a typed essay, photographs, hand drawn maps and other materials related to the ‘Numbers’ exhibitions.
“Deliberately low-keyed art often resembles ruins, like neolithic rather than classical monuments, amalgams of past and future, remains of something ‘more’, vestiges of some unknown venture,” Lippard wrote in Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972. “The ghost of content continues to hover over the most obdurately abstract art. The more open, or ambiguous, the experience offered, the more the viewer is forced to depend upon his [sic] own perceptions.” (Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972, 1973)