KÜNSTLERHAUS

BETHANIEN

Artist

Joshua Schwebel

Québec / Canada

Sinister (documentation of substitutions), found black leather gloves mailed to the home of Bruce Barber, MFA program director NSCAD University, without return address, monthly deliveries, 2009–2012

I am a conceptual artist, working through site and situation-responsive projects. My body of work questions what it means to witness a work of art, and why the act of witnessing is expected to occur in a state of co-presence with the work (as many works can be experienced via documentation, or through second-hand accounts, etc.). By way of insertions, displacements and détournements in public space, I address my work to an incidental, not-yet present, or no-longer present public, exposing the fragility at the intersection of significance and communication. In so doing I disconnect the trajectory of the artwork from an encounter with an informed public, creating situations for questioning both the representation of art and the constructs of everyday life.

By dis-connecting art from public, or address from reception – by addressing work to an absent, rather than present public – I am interested in the presumptions that found (artistic) communication, and the oversights hidden by these presumptions. My practice can be located within the lineage of dematerialized and anti-commercial practices that emerged from the avant-garde such as conceptual art and Institutional Critique.