Intercourse: Art as transaction

73 - Automne 2011

Theme: The issue Commerce | Intercourse focuses on the “transactions” implicit in relational aesthetics, by considering how certain works fall within the scope of market logic, by reflecting on the ethics of these practices and on the risks of involving participants, and by analyzing works that voluntarily exploit various financial models, be it in parody or for profit.

Aperçu (cliquer pour agrandir):
, ,

Articles à la pièce

Tristan Trémeau
Marie-Josée Lafortune
Alexandre Dhainaut & Ismaïl Bahri
Amanda Burstein
Vanessa Morisset
Audrey Laurin

Art’s New Transactions


Implicit Connections: The Magic Words of the 1990s
At the end of the 1990s, an economic vocabulary occupied considerable space in the discourse on art, notably in parallel with artists identified with relational aesthetics. Studying the resonance of this vocabulary through exhibitions and writings dedicated to this aesthetic lends us a greater understanding of the economic stakes in question and elucidates important structural, institutional, and economic developments that define the current context of art, its mediation, and market, now that a global-scale financial apparatus, the Artist Pension Trust, has taken inspiration from the relational economy to structure its networks and influence the art market.

The Labours of Relational Art
The author is interested in the critical reception of the works Relational Aesthetics (1998) and The Radicant (2009) by Nicolas Bourriaud. She positions them at the heart of the Quebec context of production and diffusion, calling attention to the fact that the relationship with the other has been theorized about here through publications chiefly concerned with performance, noting in passing the Anglophone influence of cultural studies in the interpretation of practices in the public realm. The notions of “identity” and “migrancy” are addressed in correlation with the impoverishment of social space and its tendency to reproduce relationships of power and exclusion. These often-neglected aspects are further explored by means of two performances by the artist Rebecca Belmore.

Bearers of Images and Legends: Mohamed Bourouissa’s Filmic Intercessors
Mohamed Bourouissa is a go-between stage manager. He uses the relationship with the other not as the purpose of the work but as a means for setting up an artistic device. His projects have always called upon intercessors—friends, prisoners, a group of street peddlers—to create filmic assemblages. The type of relationship he builds with them, the space that he invests, and the recording tools he makes available to them all determine the very form of the images.

When Faith Moves Mountains: Ethics and Relational Art
This article critically examines Nicolas Bourriaud's theory of relational aesthetics in relation to artist Francis Alÿs' When Faith Moves Mountains. In consideration of Bourriaud's position in comparison to that of Claire Bishop and Grant Kester, the text questions the ethics of the aspect of exchange in Alÿs' project and the impact of relational art.

Participation for Sale!
South Kensington, Christie’s, Sale No. 5537, lot 36, March 25, 2010. A work is for sale. Estimated at between £5,000 and £7,000, it sells for £5,625. Not very expensive for a work of art, but about right for a conceptual work which, moreover, is not all that old. In truth, it still does not quite exist. The process of its creation has just begun. Fiction on Auction, by Swedish artists Goldin+Senneby, is a work that starts where others end, at an auction. But what exactly is being sold, and what is the real price paid? The work questions the relationship between contemporary art and money, particularly since the emergence of relational aesthetics, by laying a trap for rich art lovers . . .

The Sentimental Value of Art
Untitled (2003), a project by Andrea Fraser in which she offered sexual relations to an art collector and documented it, has provoked much reaction. By analyzing the various discourses around the work, be it that of the artist, museums, or critics, one notes that they say more about the sentimental or emotional values attached to art than about the market mechanisms of the art world. Despite appearances, no one seems ready to affirm that art can be reduced to an act of prostitution.


Vendu–Sold 2011
Les éditions esse Benefit Auction
The artworks of the 2011 edition


Spiral City : l’impasse du paysage économique
La vidéo Spiral City (2002) de l’artiste Melanie Smith révèle une vue panoramique de la ville de Mexico conçue à partir d’amples mouvements de spirale filmés depuis un hélicoptère. Il s’agit d’une réponse à l’œuvre Spiral Jetty (1970) de Robert Smithson, laquelle prend la forme d’une digue en circonvolution qui plonge dans les eaux du Grand Lac Salé de Rozel Point, dans le désert de l’Utah. En reprenant la spirale de cette œuvre phare du land art, Melanie Smith traite de la production sociale du paysage à travers l’impact du capitalisme sur le territoire en contexte de dépendance à l’industrie pétrolière. Deux spirales qui montrent l’impasse d’un modèle économique inscrit dans la nature et dans l’espace urbain.

Patterning Particularity: Adrienne Spier’s Furniture Sculptures
This essay showcases a few of Adrienne Spier’s works from the past decade, culminating in her recent solo exhibition Grade at Parisian Laundry, October-November 2010. Spier’s work has always been concerned with the dialogue between sculpture and flatness; in Grade, she presents flattened school desks photographically in a geometric classroom pattern. This act of patterning invites curiosity about the desks’ particularity; the accompanying Inside Desks series offers a glimpse of the layered graffiti accrued over years of use on the interior surface of the desks. Presenting flattened furniture in myriad ways, Spier challenges us to mediate between particularity and pattern.

Michael Snow, Solo Snow
L’exposition Solo Snow revient sur l’œuvre protéiforme de Michael Snow en choisissant surtout des œuvres produites pendant les vingt dernières années. Louise Déry aborde l’œuvre de Snow au regard de la notion constructiviste de la faktura. Cette relecture permet de rendre visible une préoccupation majeure de l’artiste : l’interrogation et la déconstruction persistantes des conventions artistiques et des systèmes de représentation. La volonté de montrer ce qui fait signe, à côté de ce qui est représenté, donne toute sa complexité à l’œuvre de Snow.


Drapeau rouge, art contemporain chinois dans les collections montréalaises

Tu vaux combien ?

New York | Paula Cooper Gallery, The Clock by Jennifer Alleyn

Montréal | Festival TransAmériques, Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and The Farewell Speech by Catherine Cyr

Montréal | Festival TransAmériques, Trust by Catherine Cyr

Vassivière | Centre international d’art et du paysage de Vassivière, Black and White Animals by Vanessa Morisset

Montréal | Galerie Trois Points, Toxic Cornucopia by Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre

Montréal | Articule, Grandeur Nature by Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre

Longueuil | Plein sud, 225170 pièces et autant de restes by Emily Falvey

London | Hayward Gallery, Love is What You Want by Martine Rouleau

Toronto | University of Toronto Art Centre, Political Poetics by Gabrielle Moser

Toronto | Angell Gallery, Alex Kisilevich & Geoffrey Pugen by Gabrielle Moser

Paris | Le Plateau, Nul si découvert by Nathalie Desmet

Vancouver | Or Gallery, Who That Happens by Kathleen Ritter

Publication | Gwenaël Bélanger. Casser l’image / Fragmenting the Image by Katrie Chagnon

Publication | La rébellion du Deuxième Sexe : L’histoire de l’art au crible des théories féministes anglo-américaines (1970-2000) by Katrie Chagnon

Subscribe to the Newsletter

 Retrouvez nous sur Twitter !Retrouvez nous sur Facebook !Retrouvez nous sur Instagram !





esse arts + opinions

Postal address
C.P. 47549,
Comptoir Plateau Mont-Royal
Montréal (Québec) Canada
H2H 2S8

Office address
2025 rue Parthenais, bureau 321
Montréal (Québec)
Canada H2K 3T2

E. :
T. : 1 514-521-8597