press release

A Retrospective of Closed Exhib itions

From 6 August to 19 November 2016, Fri Art proposes a radical retrospective consisting of eleven closures of the art centre space – one following the other – by eleven different artists. On 19 November, a large celebration will mark the re -opening of Fri A rt space, along with the release of a major anthological publication entitled “The Anti -Museum ”.
With artists Robert Barry, Daniel Buren, Graciela Carnevale, Maurizio Cattelan, Lefevre Jean Claude, Maria Eichhorn, Swetlana Heger & Plamen Dejanov , Hi Red Center, Santiago Sierra, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Matsuzawa Yutaka.

An exhibition by Mathieu Copeland

A Retrospective of Closed Exhibition

The “Retrospective of Closed Exhibitions ” began on 6 August, the beginning of Fri Art’s official summer b reak, with Lefevre Jean Claude’s exhibition. Until 19 November, eleven exhibitions closing the art centre will follow one another on an almost weekly basis, thus forming the retrospective. Since the early 1960s, artists have seized the pattern of closing t o create works. These historic gestures are reactivated especially for Fri Art, in close collaboration with the artists or their estate. These uncompromising works confront us with the closed space, and invite us to experience their physical, sensory and conceptual reality. Over the course of three months, in an almost Beckettian repetitive mode of a recurrent pattern, but according to highly diverse modes of action, the project approaches the retrospective genre in an experimental way. The exhibition explo res the extreme limits of the field of art and defies visitors’ expectations by bringing into play questions as aesthetic as they are political.

Lefevre Jean Claude presents a replica of his 1981 work, which took advantage of the summer closing of the Yvon Lambert gallery in Paris to set out an exhibition that existed only in the text affixed to the gallery windows. A performative work, in the linguistic understanding of the term, which simply announced ‘an exhibition by lefevre jean claude 11.07/31.08 ‘81’. ( Until 19 August 2016)

Swetlana Heger & Plamen Dejanov , developed a collaborative practice at the turn of the 2000’s , that offered among others a consideration on the economic conditions of art. In February 1999, they sent Mehdi Chouakri gallery’ staff on holiday, thus closing the space. The original sign for the exhibition announcing the Berlin gallery’s holiday closing is re -installed at Fri Art, closing the space. (From 20 to 26 August 2016)

Echoing the financial crisis that shook Argentina in 2002, Santiago Sierra blocked also in 2002, with the same corrugated iron used by Argentinean banks to protect themselves from their clients, access to another type of financial institution: the Lisson Gallery in London. (From 30 August to 5 September 2016)

For her exhibition presented in October 1968 as part of the Experimental Art Cycle in Rosario, Argentina, Graciela Carnevale locked the visitors inside the gallery without them knowing, thereby mirror ing the country’s dictatorial and repressive military regime. After four hours, a passer -by released the spectators in smashing the window. (From 8 to 14 September 2016)

Rirkrit Tiravanija , invited in 2007 to inaugurate Toronto’s OCAD exhibition space, blocked the entrance with cinder -blocks on which he reprised the Situationist slogan ‘Ne Travaillez Jamais (Never Work).’ (From 17 to 23 September 2016)

Robert Barry announced in 1969 that during the exhibition, the Art & Projec, Sp erone and Eugenia Butler galleries would be closed. The artist manifested an attack on the gallery system, deliberately presenting himself as ‘anti -gallery’. (From 26 September to 02 October 2016)

In October 1964, at the Naiqua Gallery in Tokyo, with “Ah, Nil, Ah, A Ceremony of Psi’s Secret Embodiment Drowning in the Wilderness: Prototype Exhibition”, Matsuzawa Yutaka affirmed the gallery as an “anti -venue” by closing it. (From 5 to 11 October 2016)

In spring this year, Maria E ichhorn requested that all the entire staff of the Chisenhale Gallery in London withdraw their labour for five weeks, thereby obligatorily closing the art centre for the duration of the 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours exhibition by necessity . (From 14 to 20 October 2016)

Maurizio Cattelan , the Italian artist well known for his provocative sculptures depicting the Pope or Hitler, closed the Galleria Neon in Bologna in 1989 for his first solo exhibition, leaving only a sign announcing ‘torno subito ’ (‘I’ll be back soon’) visible.
(From 22 to 28 Octob er 2016)

For his first solo exhibition at the Apollinaire Gallery in Milan at the end of October 1968, Daniel Buren presented a work that entailed closing the gallery for the exhibition duration by entirely covering over the entrance door with white and green striped wallpaper. With this gesture, the artist created a dialogue between his refusal of the traditional use of the walls and his acceptance of the gallery and some of its purposes. (From 2 to 8 November 2016)

In May 1964, through the “Great Panorama Exhibition”, the experimental art Japanese collective the Hi Red Center closed the Naiqua Gallery in Tokyo. As Akasegawa Genpei noted ‘this great panorama canned up the universe’. (From 13 to 19 November 2016)

Closing party
Similarly to the last day of the Hi Red Center exhibition at the Naiqua Gallery, , on 19 November a closing party will mark the reopening of the exhibition space! The public will be invited to a large celebration with concerts and DJs.

Publication : The Anti -Museum
On this occasion the book “The Anti -Museum” will be officially released. This anthology brings together original essays by international writers, researchers, artists, and critics, interviews with artists, and a number of his torical documents, most being published for the first time in English. From the first anti -exhibition to the first catalogue retracing the history of “Closed Exhibitions,” from Dada to Noise music, from “Everything is Art” to NO!art, the Japanese avant -gar des to Lettrist cinema, and not forgetting such major protest figures as Gustav Metzger, Henry Flynt, Graciela Carnevale, GX Jupiter Larsen and Lydia Lunch, The Anti -Museum proposes a polyphonic panorama where negation is accompanied by a powerful breath o f life. Far from the oversimplification of an apparently violently dissident notion, the book is constructed according to a dialectic in which the museum itself becomes the agent of its own deconstruction.

With texts by : Erik Bullot, Beatriz Colomina, Kenneth Goldsmith, Boris Lurie, Achile Mbembe, Robert Morris, Robert Nickas, Steven Parrino, Ettore Sottsass, Olivier Suter, Reiko Tomii, Dora Vallier and Thibault Walther , amongst others.

And interviews with : John Armleder, Robert Barry, Genesis Breyer P.Orridge, Graciela Carnevale, Henry Flynt, Paolo Gilardi, Katie Guggenheim, Mierle Laderman Ukel es, Lydia Lunch and Goran Trbuljak , amongst others.

Subjects treated : anti -Art, anti -artist, anti -exhibition, anti -architecture, anti -design, anti -technology, anti -cinema, anti -philosophy, anti -writing, anti -culture, anti -university, anti -philosophy, anti -religion....


Jointly published by Fri Art and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig , in partnership with Kunst -Werke Berlin, this book , exclusively in Engli sh, will be distributed worldwid e (Europe, Japa n, USA, Canada, South America, China , Hong Kong) .


: Tinguely 2016
Within the context of festivities relating to the 25th anniversary of Jean Tinguely’s death, Frigbourg – Tinguely 2016 – Fri Art invited curator Mathieu Copeland to undertake a project dealing with the anti -museum, an ideal pursued by the Fribourg artist as well as other counterculture artists and figures .

The curator : Mathieu Copeland
The author of exhibition s at the MoMA in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Kunsthalle Bern , Mathieu Copeland has constantly deconstructed the classic exhibition format.