Survey: For Every Time its Artists
The term "artists' artist" already points to the importance of "peer recognition" instead of emphasizing institutional or commercial success. Rather, it attests to - or at least promises to open up- a potentially idiosyncratic space of production and interpretation. At the same time, the figure of "the artists' artist" has been increasingly marketed in recent years. By the same token, the figure of artists' artist in large-scale exhibitions by now seems mandatory for curators. To occupy such a position, however, still remains unattractive -after all it implicates a precarious economic condition that can be hardly redeemed by the prospect of posthumous fame. Would you nevertheless like to give out the name of your "artists' artist" and to give the reasons of your choice?
I don't know if my choice truly qualifies as an artists' artist. I think Goldin+Senneby are curators' artists as much as artists' artists, in that way they are conceptual players of a kind that invite much theorizing and can only be approached and 'seen' via words and text, by language, and so, unintentionally, they might be ideal artists for providing context and providing action for the curatorial stage. But what I find interesting is that at the same time, they are approaching something that seems unsayable, as well as undisclosable.
Their current project is called "Headless". They found references to an offshore company in the Bahamas called "Headless Ltd.". They compare and connect this to the secret society known as "Acephale" from the Greek a-cephalus, meaning "headless"; founded in Paris in the late 1930s by Georges Bataille and his circle of friends.
"Headless Ltd." is a company that seemingly cannot be traced, and it is unclear what they do, a classic offshore phenomenon that recalls spy movies, slippery underworlds and high-end crime. The idea of offshore suggests an ungovernable zone of non-signifying financial signs, a zone with its own sovereignity and therefore a meta world of "Alice in Wonderland" strangeness. Goldin+Senneby play with the connections of two "Headless" projects, both can be seen as secret societies and so have an idea of magic and glamour around them, but "Headless Ltd." also poses contemporary questions of financial black magic, of legal invisibility and the manipulation of economic power, Whilst Bataille's secret society pertains more to mythical magic realities and rituals.
Goldin+Senneby's methods include harnassing ghost writers, writers of fiction and fictuonal writers. They employ private detectives and organize semi-clandestine activities based on (their)
partial knowledge of their own collaborators, and they both reveal and conceal their activities to their audience, to the point where we don't know how much to believe, how much they believe, or to what extent they play.
The term "headless" also makes me visualize blindness, eyeless sight and the appearance of uncanny animation I get from representations of headless bodies. All of this adds to the aura around this project that draws me in, though crucially, I'm not exactly sure why.