The Project of Art is a joint reflection by Palmer and Basu mixing research, design and artworking as a way of ranging over the intertwined relations between art, architecture and place.
The Project of Art is a joint reflection by Palmer and Basu mixing research, design and artworking as a way of ranging over the intertwined relations between art, architecture and place. Their research is rooted on their examination of ways that art can avoid instrumentalisation or exploitation while also being able to take on progressive objectives. What is a Project of Art? Is art able to propose for itself its own project?
Their enquiry begins with research on Aldo Rossi and Xavier Fabre’s art centre, ‘Vassiviere’, France, which they use to index the changes in art mediation and art institutions over the last 25 years since the building’s completion. They propose the idea of a Project of Art as a way of combining the positive social functions around art with the rich creativity that drives art practices. Based on their research at Vassiviere, supported by the nearby artist-run institute, Treignac projet, Palmer and Basu return to the original proposal for Rossi’s building and explore the gradual abandonment of the program envisioned by Rossi, in favour of a standard exhibition format of the building through the 1990s.
Palmer and Basu’s investigations led to several threads of examination. Is contemporary art able to properly address its theoretical and critical contents without having to reconstruct them through the institutes that deliver or mediate its work? In other words, can art act independently of the gallery? Or is art only properly itself when it slips between the parameters of art structures (institutes, art-market and art education) to do its own thing?
This presentation is part of an ongoing investigation that will lead to speculative proposals for art platforms in rural Wales based on their research and experience on the Plateau de Millevaches where Rossi’s Vassiviere art center is set. In today’s rapidly urbanising situation, Palmer and Basu have conviction in the necessity and potential of isolated and marginal sites for art. Their research will continue to focus on ‘off-centre’ or rural places to develop political traction and maintain creative freedoms.
Sam Basu is an artist based in Treignac, France where he organises an artist-run space
Kelwin Palmer is an architect based in Bristol, having grown up in Llanwrtyd Wells.
With thanks to: Liz Murray design and fabrication of paintings and glass slides. Le Centre international d'art et du paysage de l'île de Vassivière for access to the Aldo Rossi & Xavier Fabre archive and Treignac Projet for supporting the residency.