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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Curation of Ivars Gravlejs: Curation, Installation, Performance and Resurrection

"I'm from Latvia. It is normal there when you are in a strange place to ask if you can stay the night. So I am in Vienna. It's a strange place, yes, and I asked this Lithuanian guy if I can stay the night. And he says yes. So I get to his place and then he picks up my tablet. It's an Asus, just a cheap one. And he throws it against the wall. Look, it's smashed. And then he gets me by the neck and he's killing me. But I am lucky and I can get out. So I get out and go somewhere else. Then I see him today and he remembers nothing. I hope he will pay for a new tablet."

That's what Ivars Gravlejs said when I met him in Vienna. I was at a table with Michael Mack who called him over to show his new book, Early Works. It's being launched at the Claire de Rouen Bookshop in London on Wednesday 1st July from 6 - 8:30 pm.

The book's called Early Works. It's a good title.

Early Works features Gravlejs experiments in art and photography when he was a young boy. They took place in school. They were acts of rebellion against the tedium of the place. The experiments are artistic. There are performances, actions, pop art and montage. There are pictures of teachers. There are films. But the book is also about being a boy, being in school, about growing up. There are captions and they are funny.

Early Works is a film in book form. It's If mixed with Kes mixed with To Sir With Love mixed with Lord of the Flies.

Gravlejs had some prints from his Early Works in Vienna. They were vintage prints. He passed them over to me and I curated them. There were some things on the table so we rearranged them. That was the Installation. Then he played dead as though the Lithuanian had killed him. That was the Performance. And then he got up and that was the Resurrection.

I'm going to put that on my CV. In future years when he's showing at MOMA, I can say I exhibited him in Vienna.

Ivars Gravlejs works in a call centre.

Maybe the book will help him find a new job.

These are Gravlejs' early works.

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