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Liam Gillick

(Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, 1964)


Liam Gillick is a British artist who lives in New York. His conceptual practice spans a variety of formats and spheres, including sculpture, graphic design, criticism, essays, fiction, curating and video. One of his primary interests is the production of critical reflection, exercised from artistic practice, on the space and time of the exhibition. Of note here are key projects from the mid nineties such as The What If Scenarios and Discussion Islands (1996), on the basis of which the artist thought the exhibition format in relation to a number of post-utopian scenographic references, or What If. Art on the verge of Architecture and Design at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2000), a show conceived jointly with Maria Lind that became a benchmark for late nineties exhibition curating. Gillick’s interest in the exhibition has also involved thinking the production of social space within the institutional context. In this light, early works and interventions such as the logo design for the Frankfurt Kunstverein and the ‘permanent’ intervention in one of the rooms of that institution, entitled Applied Resignation Platform (1999), both initiatives undertaken during Nicolaus Schafhausen’s term as director, strengthened the conceptual foundations of Gillick’s practice in reflecting on possible ways to generate an artistic institution. The exhibition space and the institution are models by means of which the artist studies and explores the semiotics of the fabricated and constructed world that surrounds us. In line with this, his work utilizes a certain aesthetic drawn from the contemporary economic and social context that is immersed in the dismantling of the industrial landscape and the injecting of the neoliberal model into every area of our daily lives, from work to leisure and from material production to cultural production. This interest has led him to conceive possible spaces for collective criticism, appropriating existing models of exchange from the economic culture and policy think tanks to independent initiatives such as free schools. It is worth noting here that Liam Gillick was one of the central figures in the organization of the touring project unitednationsplaza, (2006). The artist uses writing as one more artistic sphere on which to act, and in effect his writing oversteps the conventional bounds of publication to open new lines of relation between artwork and text. Among his most important works in book format are Robert McNamara Green Version (1992), Erasmus is Late (1995), Literally No Place (2002) and Underground (Fragments for Future Histories) (2004).

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