The reality of what we can see, is what we can manipulate

A Prior #11The reality of what we can see, is what we can manipulate


A Prior Magazine is proud to present its 11th issue focusing on the oeuvre of Dutch artist Ger van Elk (1941). The monographic presentation of and reflection on his, older and new, work is contextualised by two projects of younger artists (Gabriel Kuri (Mex) and Harald Thys (B) & Jos de Gruyter (NL)) presenting a broader perspective on a single oeuvre and highlighting current artistic practice. In Visions, part three of the publication APM focuses on issues related to the presentation of contemporary art.

Even though Ger van Elk could be considered an established artist, both nationally as internationally, he continuously reviews and reconsiders his own work, his personal, trivial, observations as well as art historical developments. This is exactly what makes his older work is so interesting to (re-)view today. In his new series of flatscreens he gives us his view on the possible workings of the history of art in contemporary artistic practice. In sculptures, painted-on photographs, installations, slide projections and film works produced since the 1960s, he makes unexpected connections between the trivial and the elevated, the serious and the absurd, history and personal experience. Looking at contradictions of whatever kind is the motor behind his work.
Jacinto Lageira and Carel Blotkamp analyse his oeuvre from different art historical perspectives. Where Lageira considers his oeuvre also in terms of a poetics of the trivial (referring to Van Elk who considers making an art work as a form of poetics) Blotkamp looks at the cultural influences in Van Elk’s work made between Amsterdam and Los Angeles. Phillip van den Bossche questions Van Elk on his recent works and the importance of cross-referencing and re-citing.

Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri realised an artist’s project for this issue and showed a great interest in the work of Van Elk, observing similar interests to his own, and even recognising certain strategies. An impression of the conversation between these two artists is published in this issue, making a bridge to both contemporary practice as well as to Kuri’s project. Maxine Kopsa offers an inspired and enlightening interpretation of Kuri’s work.
In the collaborative artists project of Harald Thys & Jos de Gruyter the notion of the surreal and absurd intertwines with both art history and the autobiographical. A Prior Magazine publishes the first major text about their oeuvre written by philosopher Dieter Roelstraete.

“_The reality of what we can see, is what we can manipulate_” (“La réalité de ce que nous voyons, est ce que nous pouvons manipuler” (George Herbert Mead). This quote put forward by Jacinto Lageira in a previous series of essays on Ger van Elk, roughly underlines all contributions in this issue of A Prior Magazine. A Prior Magazine offers a personalised and unique view on that what we each ‘see’ individually, yet again.

Furthermore A Prior Magazine focuses on the broad and multifaceted theme of presentation in VISIONS, part three of the publication. Anton Vidokle (artist, initiator of e-flux.com and part of the curatorial team of Manifesta 6) and Jeroen Boomgaard (publicist and lecturer at the Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam) present their stance on the subject. Anne Daems contributed a visual column (with carrier bags as presentation platforms) based on her first experiences at the ISCP in New York and Steve Dietz talks about presenting new media art.