On UNPAINTED lab 3.0: Annette Doms – Opening of the fair on THURSDAY, Februar 18, 5-10pm
In 2014, UNPAINTED presented itself as a fair for galleries and artists. Now, developing a biennial iteration, it focuses on being a platform where artists can present their work without the presence of the gallerist. However, this fair is not necessarily exclusive for artists who don’t have a relation to the art market. Actually, the market oriented face of the UNPAINTED stays the same, but the Lab 3.0 emerges as the other side of a coin that begins to spin this week in the city of Munich.
The event resembles the same issues that still inhabit the format of a fair: the division between art market and art mediation, the dependency of a collectors network while the ministry of culture won’t pay too much attention - in spite of the small funding - to the relevance of a queer format for a city, in which the discourse of art is still presented in a very conservative frame.
Annette Doms is a particular figure among the circles in which art dealers and collectors move around, as she still pleas for the evaluation of art mainly through its intellectual challenges, and not necessarily the aesthetic appeal it carries with itself. UNPAINTED lab 3.0 is in this case an idea she embodies while working directly with artists and collectors vis-à-vis: She wants to make the connection between these figures to be more organic.
If everything functions as planned, then the UNPAINTED lab 3.0 will turn into what Doms wants it to be – a place to discuss the present future of the art world.
RM: So no galleries, only artists in single booths. Can we talk about individual exhibitions within one venue?
AD: Every artist has his/her space, which means s/he will present the work as s/he pleases. Even if it is a fair in a one single hall, the presentations are individual as it traditionally is in a fair. It’s not a big homogeny called UNPAINTED but artists subtly linked by a certain premise.
RM: It is important to point out the differences: it was a fair and now only a lab?
AD: UNPAINTED lab 3.0 is a fair with a promoting task. Artists have applied through an open call to take part of it, and a jury has made a selection. Comparing it with a ‘regular’ artists’ fair, they don’t have to pay any fees to participate. The costs of the fair are covered by the board that supports UNPAINTED lab 3.0. The only incomes that we make will be through the sales of tickets.
RM: The future that we like to think about is the present moment as a defining one for the 21th century. How do you and Nate Hitchcock (as curators of the fair) work your role in the 'here' and 'now'?
AD: I follow a principle of cause and effect: every incident occurs in relation to a bigger picture. So if digital art isn’t a new discovery, it is located in relation of an art that was produced ‘yesterday’ – postmodernity -, it is through the digitalization of our existence a movement that matters ‘today, and ‘tomorrow’ it will be, of course, something produced implicitly to history.
RM: So how would you describe your role within this event? As a fair, UNPAINTED lab 3.0 clearly wants to provide alternatives, aiming for a transcendental impact to reach in its local context.
AD: My role as an art historian is simply to find out the artworks that under the demands of leading criteria – that means experience, knowledge and overview - are the ones to be valued. I’ve been given the opportunity to direct the UNPAINTED lab 3.0, as I’ve worked on this field of the so-called new media a very long time. The role of the digital in arts is a mirror for the here and now, and it prepares a path through the things that have been made in the last decades to experience art as it will be in a couple of year.
Everything that can be considered new has needed its incubation time; that’s at least what art history can teach us. Although artists move faster than ever and organize themselves with an uncanny individualism, it reminds to so many chapters of the last century.
The role of the UNPAINTED lab 3.0 is to mediate these phenomena and therefore to expand the understanding capabilities towards ideas that are right now being developed, in content-driven, spatial and formal ways.
RM: Which is the DNA of the lab 3.0?
AD: The DNA is promotion and presentation of new media. About this terminology are enough discussions, but we give a stage to artworks that confront themselves with new technologies and reflect on the output of this kind of settlements.
RM: Who decided to name it Lab 3.0 in 2016 and why is painting a departing point for a fair like this one?
AD: It was my decision. UNPAINTED still is, in any case, a laboratory experiment. But painting is not a departing point at all. The title is the result of a reflection of the semantic impact of the word itself – it’s unveiling the digital to be more influential than anything else.
RM: But isn’t the UNPAINTED restricting itself to a certain historicist, over-self-conscious period in which media seems to predominate not only as a way of communication but as a way of being?
AD: If you put it like that… UNPAINTED is a particular fair, but it aims to see itself as an open format.
RM: The juxtaposition of so many different artistic proposals towards the understanding and function media could be contradictory.
AD: The juxtaposition of the different proposal is the purpose of every fair. And it is about presenting innovative art forms but also about selling them. Cultural institutions have certainly other possibilities of display.
RM: But here at UNPAINTED lab 3.0 what is called ‚innovation’ is determined by the usage of media?
AD: Not necessarily. Our society is already determined by them in any case. Innovation is about new thinking. Maybe this is a question that the artworks themselves can accurately respond to.
RM: Have you considered how the expansion of the UNPAINTED lab 3.0 should look like, and if yes, in which direction?
AD: We are showing the work of 40 artists this year. That’s a lot. If the format establishes itself, then yes, I think there are good ways of doing so. But for now, we can’t say too much about expansion. It’s too early for that.