Pieterjan Ginckels:

Oct 28 – Dec 10, 2011
Opening: Oct 28, 7-10 pm

What is art? How and under which conditions is it produced? In his project S.P.A.M. OFFICE the Belgian artist Pieterjan Ginckels transforms the gallery into an office. There and "live on stage", he puts the concept of the artist as an ingenious creator and the piece of art as a unique artifact under question.

S.P.A.M. OFFICE demonstrates a collaborative approach of art production: Within a specifically designed and fabricated interior, employees in uniform dressing do their work in public: their task is to screen the received spam e-mails, browse the digital trash of the information era, probing its potential for artistic concerns. The S.P.A.M. OFFICERS sort useless mails out according to given formal criteria, mark promising mails, paragraphs, phrases, fake names or single words on the printed mails, classify and archive them – as a service for their boss, the artist.

Pieterjan Ginckels acts out as a rigorous chief clerk: He checks the minutely planned working process, criticizes the employees, motivates them, has an open ear for their concerns, controls whether the business plan is fulfilled or not. He does not only act out as the office manager, he is the office manager and patriarch of the company (and its architect, building-owner, chief designer and outfitter of the office and its staff as well). The office is a real place of service provision, the employees really provide the artist with selected raw material for his creative purposes.

The artist then transforms this material, he exploits and refines this annoying ad talk, the platitudinous chat-up lines or the clumsy self-praises, and the results are shown in the office resp. the gallery: There are lyrical, cryptic text cut outs, assembled to "New Rules" or assumedly authentic "Spam Dialogues", set in carefully selected fonts and layouts, which give the series characters an image-like quality, printed in A4 format or sometimes in poster or bill-board size, on glossy paper, attractively and suitably framed.

The contents of a more intimate e-mail are transformed into subtitles that address the viewer from a video screen, tucked away in the basement.

According to which criteria Ginckels selects and transforms e-mails into such works seems only known by the artist himself. When and what the artist draws from out of the S.P.A.M. OFFICE folders, which certain lines and words his eyes pick up and why they do so, how he modifies and varies the material, how he derives the final texts and images from it, that all stays in the dark. The creative act is fulfilled by the artist completely autonomously, it is the secret he holds.

Here he is again: "the ingenous artist as creator"? Yes and no. Profoundly serious but with subtle irony, Pieterjan Ginckels playfully and at the same time seriously demonstrates how disciplined, goal-oriented teamwork and the creativity and originality of an individual can productively come together.

At von cirne Pieterjan Ginckels realizes a small branch of S.P.A.M. OFFICE: Here, the office is shrunk to the size of a one-man-enterprise, manned by the gallerist. The office furniture is layed out much like an ergonomical machine, and the OFFICER is the cog at its center. The artist will keep track of the spam mailbox and forward spam emails to the gallery throughout the exhibition. The audience is invited to keep forwarding all their spam email (or other unwanted messages, the S.P.A.M. Officers will decide) to s-p-a-m@live.com, and to come watch the office at work.

Pieterjan Ginckels, *1982, lives and works in Brussels. He is one of the award winners of the Young Belgian Painters Award 2011, Bozar Center for Fine Arts, Brussels. Solo shows (among others): PISTE at Netwerk center for contemporary art, Aalst, Belgium (2010) and at Galerie de Expeditie, Amsterdam (2010); S.P.A.M. OFFICE at Be-Part, Waregem, Belgium (2011) and at the Figures and Facts Festival, Gent, Belgium (2010); SONIC YOU at Klerkx, Milan, Italy (2009) and at the Neue Aachener Kunstverein (2008). Participant in several group exhibitions in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

von cirne
Galerie/Projekte Jörg Kohnen-May
Lütticher Straße 8 (Eingang Brabanter Straße)
50674 Köln
Fon: +49 221 27 72 87 47
Fax: +49 221 27 72 87 52
Mail: info@voncirne.de