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By Abdel Bounane

 

“Retweeter” – Aram Bartholl

 

A physical space presenting virtual artworks might seem out of place but it does make sense when you meet Philippe Riss, director of the XPO Gallery. The gallery relentlessly tries to break boundaries by mixing mediums and problematics, proving, if needed, that digital art has indeed its place in an exhibition space. His approach of digital art is not technologically driven but focuses instead on the relationship our society maintain with the digital world. It is the insertion of this human component that makes the gallery relevant in the digital age. We met with Philippe Riss for a discussion about the challenges of presenting digital art in a gallery as well as the difficulty of preserving such artworks.

The exhibition “Suberiority” closed its doors last month and was a great success. What did you learn from it? Is offering a digital artwork on paper some kind of statement on the gallery’s position?

The digital paintings of Vasilios Paspalis, a young Greek artist who recently graduated from the Royal College of Art in London, were indeed well-received. They really piqued the interest of art collectors to the point that Paspalis is now part of many renowned collections.

The gallery does not have a special position, but a mission. It represents artists from the postindustrial era we are in. When I discovered Vasilios at his graduate show in London, I immediately offered him the support of the gallery as I think he is a great emerging artist from this new postindustrial movement.

Earlier this year, we heard a lot about the Offline Art exhibition, where digital artworks were sold as routers. How did you end up with this scenography and would you repeat it in the future?

The OFFLINE ART- new 2 was a proposition made by Aram Bartholl. We wanted to create a physical and spatial experience with “offline” net art pieces. We will reiterate this exhibition format next year with a solo show of Kim Assendorf.

What is the place and the role of a gallery in the digital era? How does the XPO gallery face this challenge?

In my opinion, the role of gallery in the digital era is not to revisit the past. I think the old economic model of the art gallery can no longer exist. XPO Gallery supports artists whose digital environment greatly expands their ability to represent the world. The gallery’s mission is to comment this new era of comparison.

Exhibition view “Retweet if you want more followers” – Aram Bartholl

What upcoming exhibitions should we expect in the coming months and how will they fit in the general approach of the gallery?

I’m very excited to announce the solo shows of Paul Souviron, who works on the tension happening in the world, of Grégory Chatonsky, who will also be exhibited at the Docks Art Fair in Lyon, and of Constant Dullaart.

How do you preserve artworks that are by definition virtual?

The preservation of a digital artwork is a very important question. Every medium has its own preservation problem, but obsolescence when it comes to digital art is almost immediate. That’s why we are currently investigating to ensure the preservation and authenticity of these artworks.

How do you consider digital art? The question might seem a bit odd, but considering your choice to go beyond preexisting boundaries, do you consider part of it?

I do not think there is a digital art but rather art in the digital era. It is very different and that is the reason why we support all kinds of mediums.

“Google Portrait” – Aram Bartholl
The XPO gallery is currently presenting Retweet if you want more followers, a solo show by Aram Bartholl. In a world where Internet dominates the world, the German artist questions our dependence to the virtual world and the underlying tensions born with it. This unbalanced relationship is examined with intelligence and irony through a series of new works where captchas become sculptures and QR codes portraits. The exhibition is on display until June 8 and will continue for a few more days from June 18 to the 21.
XPO Gallery, 17 rue de Notre Dame de Nazareth, 75003 Paris.

Tags: , , , ,

By Abdel Bounane

 

“Retweeter” – Aram Bartholl

 

A physical space presenting virtual artworks might seem out of place but it does make sense when you meet Philippe Riss, director of the XPO Gallery. The gallery relentlessly tries to break boundaries by mixing mediums and problematics, proving, if needed, that digital art has indeed its place in an exhibition space. His approach of digital art is not technologically driven but focuses instead on the relationship our society maintain with the digital world. It is the insertion of this human component that makes the gallery relevant in the digital age. We met with Philippe Riss for a discussion about the challenges of presenting digital art in a gallery as well as the difficulty of preserving such artworks.

The exhibition “Suberiority” closed its doors last month and was a great success. What did you learn from it? Is offering a digital artwork on paper some kind of statement on the gallery’s position?

The digital paintings of Vasilios Paspalis, a young Greek artist who recently graduated from the Royal College of Art in London, were indeed well-received. They really piqued the interest of art collectors to the point that Paspalis is now part of many renowned collections.

The gallery does not have a special position, but a mission. It represents artists from the postindustrial era we are in. When I discovered Vasilios at his graduate show in London, I immediately offered him the support of the gallery as I think he is a great emerging artist from this new postindustrial movement.

Earlier this year, we heard a lot about the Offline Art exhibition, where digital artworks were sold as routers. How did you end up with this scenography and would you repeat it in the future?

The OFFLINE ART- new 2 was a proposition made by Aram Bartholl. We wanted to create a physical and spatial experience with “offline” net art pieces. We will reiterate this exhibition format next year with a solo show of Kim Assendorf.

What is the place and the role of a gallery in the digital era? How does the XPO gallery face this challenge?

In my opinion, the role of gallery in the digital era is not to revisit the past. I think the old economic model of the art gallery can no longer exist. XPO Gallery supports artists whose digital environment greatly expands their ability to represent the world. The gallery’s mission is to comment this new era of comparison.

Exhibition view “Retweet if you want more followers” – Aram Bartholl

What upcoming exhibitions should we expect in the coming months and how will they fit in the general approach of the gallery?

I’m very excited to announce the solo shows of Paul Souviron, who works on the tension happening in the world, of Grégory Chatonsky, who will also be exhibited at the Docks Art Fair in Lyon, and of Constant Dullaart.

How do you preserve artworks that are by definition virtual?

The preservation of a digital artwork is a very important question. Every medium has its own preservation problem, but obsolescence when it comes to digital art is almost immediate. That’s why we are currently investigating to ensure the preservation and authenticity of these artworks.

How do you consider digital art? The question might seem a bit odd, but considering your choice to go beyond preexisting boundaries, do you consider part of it?

I do not think there is a digital art but rather art in the digital era. It is very different and that is the reason why we support all kinds of mediums.

“Google Portrait” – Aram Bartholl
The XPO gallery is currently presenting Retweet if you want more followers, a solo show by Aram Bartholl. In a world where Internet dominates the world, the German artist questions our dependence to the virtual world and the underlying tensions born with it. This unbalanced relationship is examined with intelligence and irony through a series of new works where captchas become sculptures and QR codes portraits. The exhibition is on display until June 8 and will continue for a few more days from June 18 to the 21.
XPO Gallery, 17 rue de Notre Dame de Nazareth, 75003 Paris.

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