Caveat Reading Room #16: Doing Nothing
During this Reading Room, we’ll read from Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Laziness, the Real Truth of Mankind: Work as an Instrument to reach truth; Philosophy of the socialist idea’ (1921), a text proposed by artist Katya Ev.
This reading room will take place through Zoom. Send us an email to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reading Room is conceived as a reflexion on the performance by Katya Ev Visitors of an Exhibition Space Are Suggested to ‘Do Nothing’. The performance is a participatory set-up that indeed invites visitors to ‘do nothing’, but first meticulously spells out the conditions that ‘doing nothing’ will be both subject to and enabled by: visitors sign a contract that was developed in close collaboration with a lawyer, and which is legally valid and binding. After ‘doing nothing’, visitors get remunerated and receive a proof of payment. It was possible for visitors to take part in the performance and ‘do nothing’ for any amount of time, whereas the compensation is foreseen for the number of full hours. Both parties should pay all applicable taxes and social costs.
The performance aimed to deconstruct the idea of ‘doing nothing’ as losing time, the idea of productivity as valuable, and the possibility of being present to yourself as a class privilege.
Vanessa Joan Müller is an art historian, curator, and writer. From 2000 to 2006, she was curator at the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt am Main, from 2007 to 2011 director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf, and from 2013 to 2020 Head of Dramaturgy at Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna. Currently she runs, together with Rike Frank, the European Kunsthalle, an institution without its own space that follows the idea of situational presence. In 2014, she curated (together with Cristina Ricupero) the exhibition New Ways of Doing Nothing at Kunsthalle Wien.
Katya Ev’s time-based, performative practice explores institutional critique, issues of power and control, and the potential for individual agency within dominant power structures in relation to specific political situations or events. Ev lives and works between Paris and Brussels, and recently completed the postgraduate residency at HISK, Ghent, after graduating from ENSBA de Paris and completing an MA in Political Science at Lomonossof University, Moscow. Her work has been exhibited at Netwerk Aalst (2021), MHKA (Antwerp, 2020), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2018), the 6th Thessaloniki Biennal (2017, parallel programme), Winzavod Art Center (Moscow, 2015, 6th Moscow Biennial special project) among others.
This event is kindly supported by the Culturele Activiteitenpremie of the Vlaamse Overheid