From June 27th – July 21st Taiga (Dvortsovaya nab. 20, Saint Petersburg, Russia) features an exhibition What Thinks Me which seeks to understand how the concept of the self is being constructed and/or reflected through artworks. The show revolves around this subject through metaphors, objectbased stories and artworks themselves.
J. Baldessari is an American conceptual artist whose work was famously criticized as ‘a mere parody of conceptualism’. He proved his playful character in a context of traditional rigorous conceptualism by throwing five balls at a time to form a line in the sky, by waving to the ships (and documenting this), by putting color dots on the faces of Hollywood stars in photographs and more artworks. While it is hard to overestimate the influence of conceptualism in contemporary art, we feel close to the attitude of J. Baldessari, a ‘prankster’ of conceptualism. So we took his work as the center of the show, but this center appeared so vast!
In What Thinks Me Now (1982) the artist names a continuous list of things, enumerating ideas that ‘think him‘. He creates a space of self-knowledge through this work, both for himself and for the one who reads it. This is a good exercise, a practice similar to meditation or psychotherapy, or just spending time with your self and then coming back from that meeting with new revelations.
The very expression ‘what thinks me‘ is unusual to our ears but let‘s observe its logic: it is not only we who are thinking about something, but also objects, images, spaces and sounds. Face recognition software, mood-enhancing ionizers, transitional objects, entertainment parks, titanium crystals, ouija-boards, pop songs – they all have subjective character and are able to think us.
Artists: John Baldessari, David Bernstein, Ragna Bley, Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf, David Raymond Conroy, Jesse Darling, Jugedamos, Nikita Kadan, Rebecca La Marre, Lina Lapelytė, Slavomir Leontjev, Taus Makhacheva, Marija Olšauskaitė, Roman Osminkin, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Jurgis Paškevičius, Daniel Shanken, Viktor Timofeev, Technopoetry, Julijonas Urbonas, Robin Vanbesien, Mark Wallinger
* The title of the show comes from a text by John Baldessari, What Thinks Me Now (1982).
Exhibition curators: Justė Kostikovaitė and Monika Lipšic
Graphic designer: Daiva Tubutytė. Exhibition display: Marija Olšauskaitė and Petras Olšauskas
Artist Rebecca LaMarre has created an online publication and offline workshop for the exhibition What Thinks Me. The title references the Futurist opera Victory Over the Sun, whose costumes and set were designed by Kazimir Malevich.
The workshop featured collaborative rewriting of the opera’s libretto, as well as for the script of Mayakovski: A Tragedy. Publication http://anothervictory.net features contributions by Amelia Groom, Rebecca LaMarre, Roman Osminkin, Viktorija Rybakova, Galina Gubanova, Julijonas Urbonas and Yuri Pattison.
Film by Kipras Dubauskas about the opening of What thinks me exhibition opening featuring a piece by David Raymond Conroy Content Context Container, 2014. Text during the performance was read by Robin Vanbesien and Anna Nekrasova:
Photographs by Yaroslava Forgegardt