Projects

Acte de Présence - Sans Valeur

Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Jan 2000

Duration: 04.02.2000 - 05.03.2000
Location: Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana
Participants: 4
Visitors: people visiting the museum
Number of Events: daily guard duty

Acte de Présence - Sans Valeur (2000) was a response to questions raised by Carlos Basualdo for the exhibition 'Worthless' in Moderna Galerija. Questions such as: Does a work of art has a value besides its economic value as established by the market? And, if so, what determines that value? How does value emerge in the art circuit, and what are the elements that define it? Has globalisation modified the ways in which we think of an artwork's value? And what is that value in a situation where there is no market? Basualdo asked Van Heeswijk to contribute a site-specific work and be present at the exhibition. She responded by saying that this required her to instrumentalize herself, as in this case it was her presence, rather than the art object, that had value. This shift formed the basis for Acte de Présence - Sans Valeur.

For the duration of the show, 4 February until 5 March, Van Heeswijk stayed in Ljubljana and worked as a guard in the museum, each day taking her position in a different room, a different section of the show. From this position she talked one-on-one with members of the public about the artists-object-value relationship, from her own perspective as well as in relation to the work of the artists on show in the room. She wrote short texts, which she used to communicate to members of the audience, at the same time seeking out their ideas and perspectives - interweaving them with hers, and telling them again and again. She attempted this in the local language, Slovenian, as the museum guard job required sufficient fluency in Slovenian to answer visitors' questions and provide additional information. For this she took an intensive language course before the show. Her ability to learn to speak the language formed the basis for communicating ideas about value.


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