Institute for Provocation presents an exhibition and presentation of the ongoing project 'The Museum Of Nothing' by resident artist duo benandsebastian.
The Danish/British artist duo benandsebastian have been conducting research in Beijing for the Museum of Nothing in conversation with experts from several of the city’s museums. The artists came to China with a series of questions about the role of absence in institutions, such as: how do we fill in gaps within our material knowledge, how do we recreate what is lost, and how is the absent embedded in objects and artefacts that remain.
The artists arrived in Beijing airport last August with two transport cases on loan from the Museum of Art and Design in Copenhagen. The transport cases shared the characteristic of having been made for specific artefacts that have since been lost from that museum’s collection, as have all traces of their identity and provenance. Now the only record of these absent artefacts is the cases that once carried them.
As the artists journeyed between Beijing’s museums with the transport cases, the empty objects came to serve as vessels for questions about origin, authenticity, imitation and the relationship between original and copy. Rather than providing answers, the series of encounters with museum professionals, academics and local craftsmen in Beijing have repeatedly re-written the questions that the Museum of Nothing poses.
Opening: January 25th, 4pm
Black Sesame Space
Heizhima hutong 13
About the artists:
Ben Clement and Sebastian de la Cour have been working together since 2006 as the British/Danish artist duo ‘benandsebastian’. They have exhibited internationally during that time in museums and institutions in New York, Copenhagen, London and Berlin. Benandsebastian are interested in how meaning is embedded in spaces and objects in conditions of absence. Their intricate and highly-crafted installations have inbuilt gaps and are often on the verge of collapse. Whether taking the form of architectural fragments, mechanical theaters or living artifacts, their works relate to the idea of a body that is incomplete and vying with its own phantoms. In their recent work they have pursued the potential of absence, gaps, incompletion and anomaly within the context of several museum collections, in a form of materialized institutional critique.