We, two artists and a critic, have cross-challenged ourselves to play a game that generates all those discursive elements that grow around —like a wrapper or cover— the work of art, and that usually are developed later, namely: the title, the description, and the critique. The goal is to generate them in mutual support of each other, but without the work that, supposedly, originates them. In this way, we are activating a para-creative process that allow us to bring forward certain questions about authorship, the production of a work of art, and the legitimating discourses that surround it. From the onset, the arbitrary nature of the rules of the game leaves us free from taking any kind of clear side in the issues at stake. Risk is taken solely by jumping into the unknown conclusions of an open ended game, sometimes a bit blasphemous, accepting, meanwhile, the unsettling and the constant tossing around that the results might provoke at the end.
How the game works:
As a point of departure, each of us generates one of the three elements that, ex-novo, and having no relation to an existing work of art, constitute the discourse of art: a critique (A1), a title (B1), and an ekphasis (C1). After these elements are created, the game enters a second fase, one in which each of these elements, now pointing to three different fictional works of art, provoke the development of the other two elements that are, so far, still missing. This way, the next set of critiques, titles and ekphasis, have now a clearly established reference, and draw the following structure:
Diego Pujal propossed titles based on his own methodological system. Pujal is an abstract painter that works around the tangible, as well as, the evanescent condition of the image. He always titles his works using a peculiar terminology developed from the visual and/or conceptual suggestions that emanate from the images he paints.
Ruben Verdu is developing a project based on the use of a classical rhetorical element, known as ekphasis, that consists in the literary description of a work of art. Verdu inserts these ekphrasis in novels of other authors that are already published and well known. His interventions are not only at the narrative level, imitating the writing style the the original author, but at the material as well, publishing copies of the novel with his additional texts included. For this occasion, he has created three ekphrasis for "Gramatica Parda" by the Spanish author, Juan Garcia Hortelano.
Alex Mitrani is an art historian and curator. Among the subjects that constitute his main interest are questions of method, of the hierarchical dynamics that are commonly issued by the artistic discourse, and of the peculiar complicity developed with the artist, always built around the distance between him and his work.
"Obrar sin obra" (Si trio faciunt idem non est idem) is not a work nor a theoretical essay. We thought it would be not only fun, but also stimulating and exemplary, not so much for what it tried to answer, but for what questions it posed during the design of its relationships and the developing of its contents. When is the work being thought of? When is the work being made? When does it appear? What it consists of? Is the relationship between artist, critic and viewer a deaf conversation, or an objective collaboration? Can we draw purely from rhetoric? Where do the vices of adulation come from? How can we best put into practice the virtues of thought and irony? In any case, we feel, at the end, we have unleashed a mechanism that is still sensible to further developments, and to a multiplication of forms.
A1 (critique ex-novo) >>> A2 (ekphrasis) >>> A3 (title)
B1 (critique ex-novo) >>> B2 (ekphrasis) >>> B3 (title)
C1 (critique ex-novo) >>> C2 (ekphrasis) >>> C3 (title)