Conversation Piece II at the Gstaad Palace in 2014
Today, a Conversation Piece can refer to any object that can trigger a discussion. But in 18th Century Europe, it referred to a portrayed group of people in conversation. The actual trigger of the conversation – whether an exhibition or a landscape – was equally to be seen in the painting. Thus the term would merge the representation of discourse with the catalyst thereof. It bears mentioning that the said pieces rarely portrayed people in actual conversation.
Instead of snapshot realism, what mattered were gestures of conversation – a raised hand, a pointed finger – self-consciously performed, almost to the point of abstraction.
This project will attempt to achieve a similar layering of reflexive gesticulations and discursive tropes. The art fair as conversational setting, topic and representation merged into one. The materialization thereof will hinge on two factors: a particular kind of barroom setting, and a radical contextualization, not to say immersion within the art fair context. Allowing for all manners of artistic, gastronomic and scenographic parameters of the salon d’art to permeate the room.
It is in the spirit of this immersion that participating galleries are invited to submit one artwork each, for sale, responding to the motif of the Conversation Piece. The thematic link can be as literal or roundabout as the gallery wishes. Neither Stoffel nor Zolghadr will attempt to control this influx of contemporary art (beyond whatever practical restrictions may arise). […] »
Tirdad Zolghadr, artgenève 2014