In Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 at 8:01 am

As part of putting together the VSK project for The Reading Room, I have been thinking about the folio as a form of publication, attracted by its sense of a gathering of materials, its openness to re-arrangement, how it could propose/be some new event, rather than/ as well as chronicling something that has already happened. 

I also like how the folio format fits with the shifts of activity that come from thinking about editorial work (and writing) as “assembling” rather than “editing.”

Some of these thoughts came from A Folio for Secession, by Marc Camille Chaimowicz, produced for his recent exhibition at the Vienna Secession (Nov 20 2009-Jan 24 2010) and which contains, as the folder flap announces:  

 a letter

some patterns

a text and

exhibition views

This text is alone on the cream card, haiku-redolent, the folio dependent on this careful juxtaposition, rhythm and shift of materials.  

Actually, the order of materials was somewhat different in my copy, as if someone had already re-arranged the materials into a – for them- more workable arrangement. In order there were: six patterns, printed on card; a facsimile handwritten letter on different sized headed notepaper,  from hotels from Los Angeles and Baden Baden; a brochure containing “exhibition views” and an essay by Silvia Eiblmayr. 

I wanted more but perhaps the folio is best conceived as a minimal juxtaposition and agglomerating. Something light, but also an amassing and clotting.  

The letters on their cream paper invite us to view the artist through his handwriting, the facsimile headed notepaper seeking a re-creation of an idea of luxury, alongside evidencing the often traveling contemporary artist.  

Letter begins with MC emerging from his LA hotel to scene of apocalypse which, after a moment of adjustment, he identifies as a film crew shooting a scene from Alien. The mix is one of a number of differences and connections that unfold in the letters chatty but formal informality, including, most principally, the relations of Vienna and LA. 

I felt the conceptual nub of this folio and Chaimowicz’s work was to be found in the following quotation:

It is given that as we focus on any particular subject, so that subject is liable to appear and reappear – in myriad form or as chimera- to haunt and envelope us (the conceptual distance between Wittgenstein’s Vienna and, say, the death of Michael Jackson is daunting – yet today’s cultural overload purports to such mental juggling…)

A favourite restaurant here is Ammo, which is run by Benedikt who is from Vienna… I am therefore sensitised to Vienna’s after image… there are connections beyond the anecdotal and it may seem an exagerration to suggest that pckets of L.A. were once more Viennese than Vienna… yet such was the exodus of radical thinkers, and such were the opportunities, that this equation is surely plausible… 

What I am proposing is that the fractured continuum of history was such that the true spirit of Viennese Radicalism was, in the 1920’s and 30’s largely transposed to California. 

Here then is a statement of the network that informs Chaimowicz’s work, both of his time in Vienna, his relationship to Vienna, Vienna itself, his own broader practice and the relations it involves and imbricates between high and low culture; art, design and furniture.  

Such concerns are central to Silvia Eiblmayr’s “Marc Chamille Chaimowicz Vienna Revisted…?”, which I read as organised around two quotations. The first, by MC himself, is at the beginning: “All one can do in 1983 is attempt to make art rather than make art.” The second, by Hermann Czech, concerns the notion of Mannerism:

Mannerism is an attitude of intellectualism, of awareness; and also a sense of the irregular ,the absurd, which in each case breaks the established rules. Mannerism is the conceptual approach to accepting reality at whichever level may be necessary. It enables the openness and the imagination to put into motion, and sustain, unexpected outside processes, too. An architecture of participation is possible only on the basis of Mannerism.” (13)

I imagine a methodology composed of a conceptual choreography between these two quotations. 

Writing of  Chaimowicz’s Vienna Triptych – a series of tall panels aligned along the wall, some patterned and some arrangements of photographs – Eiblemayr seeks to clarify this position. In the context of VerySmallKitchen – but also informed by Chaimowicz’s own writing practice – I found this to be outlining a form of writing. 

A writing. A folio. A writing (folio) studio. The strategy of the assembler encounters the folio. A writing assembling salon turns itself into a folio: 

Once again he [Chaimowicz] raises questions about public/ private dichotomies, and relates the intimate, personal interior that also incorporates the artist’s physical presence with the particular location and its visitor, the city, its history and the specific memories associated with it. 

In formal terms this means that in his work… he again maintains the status of his materials and resources open and moveable, refusing to categorise, preferring instead to sustain the tension of ambivalent determination between the everyday object and the objet d’art, the piece of furniture and the sculpture, the décor and the painting. 

In doing so he creates a performative space that draws the viewer in to form part of a theatrical experience, i.e. an experience that is real in terms of both space and time.


A good model for writing this, based on one piece in the Secession show: a wonky table that convinces you the floor itself is uneven.

A gathering of other themes speak urgently to contemporary practice via this cluster of materials: of theatricality, and of  – Chaimowicz’s phrase for his installations such  as Celebration? Real life (1972) – scatter environments.” 

I construct my own folio featuring this text and others by Chaimowicz: the appropriation of The World of Interiors magazine (for a book work accompanying show at Migros, Zurich 2006); the revealing interview in the recent FIELD WORK publication (a brief citation from which is  here).

A collected writings to come, hopefully, later this year.


All, as in the panels of Vienna Triptych, offer a certain space for folio-thought, a space also formed and forming in the parasol “scattered” in the installation at Secession, the appropriations of rug (on plinth), appropriated and re-configured  ( I wanted to say “sensibilised”) chairs and tables.    

JEAN FISHER: less concerned with the specificity of place than with the evocation of an abstract mental space in a visual structure that is equivalent to a musical score, in which quietude is orchestrated with crescendo, harmony with rhythm.


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