Work: Documentation of Imagination
In response to the restrictions imposed on our movements during the coronavirus epidemic, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź initiated the online-based collection, Work = Documentation of Imagination, consisting of work by an international group of artists. In the search for new solutions, we turned towards the past, drawing inspiration from neo-avant-garde artistic practices.
The collection referred to the action of the Hungarian art historian László Beke, who in 1971 sent to a group of his artist friends a list with an invitation to respond to the slogan "WORK = the DOCUMENTATION OF THE IMAGINATION/IDEA.” The collection of received responses has become an important element in the development of Central European conceptual art, as well as a testimony to the informal network of relationships. In the face of the current crisis, we have begun a dialogue with this historic gesture, asking the group of artists working with the Muzeum to send their responses to the same call.
The COVID-related restrictions, which apply to this day, have forced us to update the artistic methods developed before globalization, and after almost three decades, László Beke's activities and motto have gained a new meaning. Today, they can indicate not only the limits of creative work, but also the problems faced by many artists who cannot currently continue with their practice.
The collection of artworks–digital files, growing over time and sent to us from across the globe was an archive of imagination and a manifestation of solidarity across national borders, especially important today in the context of their closure and the threat of political isolationism. It was not accidental that Muzeum Sztuki – an institution based from its inception on the transnational solidarity and cooperation of artists – took up this very idea.
The artworks were featured on a dedicated Tumblr blog Work = Documentation of Imagination and across Muzeum Sztuki’s social media channels. The project featured, among others, artists such as Alan Butler, Carolina Caycedo, Celine Condorelli / Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Tatiana Czekalska / Leszek Golec, Wojciech Dada / Rafał Jakubowicz, Sanja Iveković, Cecylia Malik, Anna Nowicka, Pakui Hardware, Jadwiga Sawicka, Alicja Rogalska, Suzanne Treister.