»The Real Thing« curated by Vvork for MU Eindhoven, 27.02.–22.03. 2009

We run a website presenting art called Vvork.

On average three or four artworks are published daily. The continuity of this practice (started in April 2006) led to an invitation to curate an exhibition for MU.

There surely is a difference in selecting works for MU compared to our daily internet activity but we define both as curatorial practices. This needs to be emphasised as we consider the work shown online as an authentic experience, not documentation. Redefining documentation as an alternative reality opens up space for equally authentic variations. According to Jean Baudrillard “the work of art is not threatened by its double”. Bootlegs and interpretations should consequently accelerate the circulation of ideas.

Some of our favourite works have only been described to us, unsurprisingly as the majority of our art experiences have been mediated in one form or other. The majority of works presented in this show have been selected through written commentaries, verbal descriptions and jpegs found online. In fact most of the works presented at MU are the type of manifestations mentioned above: stories, descriptions, translations and interpretations, all understood as primary experiences.

The title is lifted from a short story by Henry James portraying a painter struggling with the dichotomy of appearance and reality:

“Combined with this was another perversity – an innate preference for the represented subject over the real one: the defect of the real one was so apt to be a lack of representation. I like things that appeared; then one was sure. Whether they were or not was a subordinate and almost always a profitless question.”
Henry James, The Real Thing, 1892

If art and aesthetics are primarily perception as Paul Virilio claims, defining the authenticity of an experience should be left to the recipient, not the creator.

Vvork, 2009

Selected Inspirational Quotes:

"I traveled the world all round and round, Make a lot of heads go upside down, If it ain't rough, no, it ain't no thing, Just Let yourself go cause you're rolling with the real thing."
2 Unlimited, The Real Thing, Real Things, 1994

"Every lie creates a parallel world: the world in which it's true."
Momus, Book of Scotlands, 2009

»We have to change our view in order to survive; just as we had to change life to persist,«
Paul Virilio, Speed and Politics: An Essay on Dromology, 1977

"In New York I was never in any Museum. In Paris I just went to the entrance of Louvre, I never entered it. Im not interested in it. I think its fake. What shall I do there? Push my way through thousands of Japanese tourists? Its not interesting. I prefer reproductions to the original."
Slavoj Žižek, Liebe dein Symptom wie Dich selbst!, 1991

"To experience a thing as beautiful necessarily means experiencing it wrongly.” 
Friedrich Nietzsche, Writings from the Late Notebooks, 10:167

"It's the real thing."
McCann-Erickson, 1969

"Does one have an obligation to view the work first-hand? What happens when a more intimate, thoughtful, and enduring understanding comes from mediated discussions of an exhibition, rather than from a direct experience of the work? Is it incumbent upon the consumer to bear witness, or can one’s art experience derive from magazines, the Internet, books, and conversation?"
Seth Price, Dispersion, 2001-2002



Cory Arcangel
"Super Slow Tetris" (2004) is shown as a title.
"Continuous Partial Awareness (Text Version)" (2008-2009) displays realised and unrealised ideas, rated and extended by footnotes.

John Baldessari
"Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)" (1973) is shown as a title.


Daniel Baumann
A selection of Press releases by John Armleder, Marcel Broodthaers, Merlin Carpenter, Nathan Carter, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda, Trisha Donnelly, Claire Fontaine, Guy the Guy, Rachel Harrison, Tim Lokiec, Mai-Thu Perret, Seth Price, Adam Putnam, Misha Stroj, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Jordan Wolfson.

Pierre Bismuth & Claire Fontaine
"Exhibitions" (2008) is a series of videos in which curators mime an artwork of their choice.

Pierre Bismuth
"Unfolded Origami (Mount Fuji)" (2003) is shown as a title.

Claude Closky
"The First Ten Numbers Classified in Alphabetical Order (English version)" (1989) and "The First Ten Numbers Classified in Alphabetical Order (French version)" (1989) are presented as spoken translations.
"Key notes classified in alphabetical order (French version)" (1989) and "Key notes classified in alphabetical order (English version)" (1989) are played as instrumental translations.
"The First Thousand Numbers Classified in Alphabetical Order" (1989) is shown as a title.

Aleksandra Domanović
aleksandradomanovic.eu" (2009) is an autobiographical colonialization of web domains.

Diana Franssen
A selection of books from the Van Abbe Museum library.

Marita Fraser
"50 works I have never seen" (2007) is a projection of black and white photographic slides displaying art works from catalogues. The images are taken from diverse art catalogues depicting works that existed in a temporary form; works that do not travel well and live in archives and are rarely exhibited; works that are presented as slide projection; and works that have never personally been seen by the artist except in reproduction.

"The B-Thing" (2000) is shown through the New York Times article "Balcony Scene (Or Unseen) Atop the World; Episode at Trade Center Assumes Mythic Qualities", published on the 18th of August 2001.


Wojciech Kosma
"AAAA" (2009) is a takeaway score for a heartbeat.

Matthieu Laurette
"Selected Works Currently On Display Elsewhere" (1993-2006/present) presents an overview of works exhibited at other venues during the time frame of the exhibition.


Miltos Manetas & David Barbarino
"The Artist in his Studio" (2009) is a video documentation and comentary on Alexander Lieberman's book of the same title.

Katerina Matsoukis
"κουνέλι (found in 3D Warehouse)" (2009) is a ready made sculpture of a rabbit found in Googles online 3D model archive 3D Warehouse. The rabbit is a model of Gelitins "Hase/Rabbit/Coniglio", 3D printed using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

The spoken word installation "Whispering Opera" (2009) is performed by MU staff whispering titles from Click Opera pieces.
Momus will lead groups around artworks at MU on the 27th of February, giving possible -- but unlikely -- explanations of their principal features. He will include songs in his expositions, and will also work in, wherever possible, phrases from his Spoken Word Installation Whispering Opera.

Hanne Mugaas
"Secondary Market 2" (2009) is the remains of Secondary Market, which took place in Los Angeles during December 2008. Secondary Market was a shop selling art objects and art ephemera bought from Ebay.
"Playlist" is a selection of decontextualized moving art images found online.


Marisa Olson
"Performed Listening (Boomerang)" (2009) is a Youtube response to "Boomerang" by Richard Serra and Nancy Holt. Olson listens to and repeats the words of Nancy Holt speaking into a microphone whilst hearing her words fed back through headphones.

Falke Pisano
"A sculpture turning into a conversation" (2005–2006) is a video lecture on the possibility of a sculpture standing on its own as a conversation.

Seth Price
"Digital Video Effect: "Editions"" (2006) is a video sampler of Price's editioned videos.

Rafaël Rozendaal
Photographic documentation of "No Disc" (2007), a three channel installation showing three different default signals of empty DVD players by different brands.
Photographic documentation of "Colorflip Paintings" (2008) in progress. The commissioned paintings are based on the website "www.colorflip.com".

Georg Schnitzer & Peter Umgeher
"Configuration and content analysis" (2008) is a series of virtual tours through architectural models of works by Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans and Jeff Wall. The 3D models are constructed from hundreds of 3D components created by different authors, found in Googles 3D model archive 3D Warehouse.

audio caption

Dexter Sinister
"True Mirror Fiche: A Primer of Visual Literacy" (2009) is a 6.6 sec. film loop of the 16mm master used to produce a microfiche containing 53 icons of so-called press releases produced over 3 weeks at the 7th Regiment Armory Building in New York during March 2008 under the auspices of a project called "True Mirror"; 4:09 min. audio loop of a caption written to accompany the lithographic proof print diptych "A Primer of Visual Literacy" produced for the exhibition "The Enamels" in Berlin, June 2008.

Gertrude Stein
"Five words in a line." (1930) is shown as a title.

Lawrence Weiner

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