For The Third Mind artists, David Ostrowski and Jean-Marie Appriou present abstract paintings and figurative sculptures together with music by DJ and producer Anthony Linell / Abdulla Rashim at Carl Kostyál gallery in Stockholm. The 3-hour-long event marks the inauguration of the gallery’s new space located in Nacka Strand.
The project constitutes a further iteration in an ongoing series of events in which Ostrowski, electronic musicians and other visual artists participate in ambiguous formats that are neither exhibitions nor easily catagorised as collaborative performances. These events have taken place in a multitude of forms and settings ranging from an evening-long DJ set at his own studio in Cologne to a sound intervention in a two-person exhibition held at the Leopold Hoesch Museum in Düren. Most recently a two-night long music festival took place below his hovering paintings at a defunct factory building in Leipzig.
What all these different occasions have in common is that DJs and musicians perform in close spatial proximity to Ostrowski’s paintings, which in turn become vulnerable to a crowd that, fuelled by the music, might leave gallery etiquette behind. Hung above the floor (a recurring motif in the artist’s display strategies), the artworks are confronted by the profane technical infrastructure of electronic sound transmission: cables, speakers, and mixers. This decision, at first appearing to be born from technical necessity, amplifies the way these projects try to abolish a hierarchy between visual artists and musicians, which further becomes apparent in the way both are equally mentioned in the description of the event.
Artworks are usually not specifically made for the event; neither are the musicians presenting a soundscape that was directly developed in dialogue with the artist or necessarily reacts to the works on view. Instead, collaborators are given a maximum degree of autonomy, possibly leading to coincidences and misunderstandings that add to the difficulty in predicting in advance the way the event is received by the audience.
Collaborations between art and experimental and electronic music are nothing new. Since the 1960s, music has started entering the exhibition space to such a degree, its institutionalization has been paralleled by museums developing sophisticated infrastructures and techniques to accommodate the medium. Driven by an awareness of this history, in recent projects Ostrowski has reversed this by placing artworks in situations and locations which become subject to the systematic spatial organization of a club: all eyes towards the DJ booth. This leaves the visitor uncertain as to whether they attending a real club night, or bearing witness to a strategic staging of its allegedly emotional authenticity in an art context. At other times, events are set up to intentionally create an atmosphere that moves between a usual art opening accompanied by music, the respectful silence of a sound performance, or the ecstasy of a dance party.
It is through their uncertainty and openness that these projects ask about the ways in which the space shapes the experience of music, how music shapes the perception of the art, and how it has come to be immersed in the content of contemporary art.