press release

Opening: Friday 18 January, 6 p.m.

Three perspectives and a short scenario is a year-long project by Liam Gillick. It will take place at four institutions in four different countries, adopting a different form at each station.

The first station is Gillick’s solo exhibition at Witte de With, running in parallel to his solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich. In June 2008, a “scenario” will be held at the Kunstverein München. And in January 2009, he will have a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, accompanied by a publication on his practice.

The first two stations -- taking place at Witte de With and Kunsthalle Zürich -- consist of three inter-related levels:

an architectural meta-structure For the gallery spaces of these two institutions, Gillick has designed a structure comprising numerous black screens. These create corridors and semi-permeable galleries, while closing off other spaces, altering the visitor’s sensation of space, direction and perspective. They lead the visitor along a labyrinthine route, past a vitrine designed by Gillick -- featuring a personal archive -- to a screening room at the heart of the exhibition.

a documentary film Gillick’s first documentary film acts as a reframing of all his previous work, derived from documentation of projects dating from 1988 to the recent unitednationsplaza, and encompassing projects that range in scope from the artist’s many lectures to his architectural designs. The film guides the viewer through a series of images accompanied by a voiceover. Rather than employing the usual format of a retrospective exhibition, the film itself is Gillick's retrospective.

“institutional zone” The remaining space within the galleries is categorized by Gillick as the “institutional zone”, which he has offered back to the two curatorial teams. This gesture can be seen as one of generosity or provocation, designed to highlight the division of responsibility between artist and institution in the creation of any exhibition. This comes back to Gillick’s own practice, a practice that questions the conventions of exhibition design and modes of display; and that asks if and how an entire artistic practice can be represented.

Witte de With’s director Nicolaus Schafhausen has decided to use the institutional zone to present the work of other artists during Gillick’s solo exhibition, considering Gillick's architectural meta-structure as a given. They have not been invited in order to comment upon Gillick’s work, although certain parallels may emerge regardless. Any resulting ambiguities or misunderstandings will raise questions about the roles of art institutions and the expectations of artists and visitors.

Kunsthalle Zürich’s discussions with Gillick have focused on whether an institution is defined by insitutional policy, or is permanently being re-defined by the series of exhibitions and the intentions of the artists whose practice they present. The "institutional zone" at Kunsthalle Zürich will be a collaboration between director Beatrix Ruf and the artist to present a sequence of his lesser known ephemeral and conceptual pieces. Several events, lectures and symposia will also highlight the collaborative and discoursive elements of Gillick's work.

Liam Gillick (born 1964, UK) lives and works in New York and London. Recent solo exhibitions include Palais de Tokyo (Paris), MOMA (NYC), Powerplant (Toronto) and Whitechapel Art Gallery (London). He is nominated for the 2008 Vincent Award, Amsterdam.

Supported by: The British Council; The Henry Moore Foundation; Volume Magazine; Casey Kaplan; Esther Schipper; Eva Presenhuber; Air de Paris; Corvi Mora; Micheline Szwajcer; Meyer Kainer; Präsidialdepartement der Stadt Zürich; Luma Stiftung; Stanley Thomas Johnson Stiftung.

Liam Gillick
Three perspectives and a short scenario
Kurator: Zoe Gray

19.01.08 - 24.03.08 Witte de With, Rotterdam
28.01.08 - 30.03.08 Kunsthalle Zürich