Within a small section of De Appel’s archive lies an accumulation of objects – artworks, props, leftovers, and unidentified materials – that have come to be known as its “Collection (Unintended)”. Starting from the eccentricity of this collection, the exhibition Landscape with Bear presents a single continuous topography that blurs the line between art object and display. Alongside works by significant historic figures are those whose authors are unknown and objects of uncertain provenance. Building from the proposition that practices of collecting are part of regimes of knowledge-production, this exhibition asks, what kinds of knowledge can emerge from the fragmentary, the uncertain and the unstable?
Rather than presenting a series of objects as static and self-contained artefacts, the exhibition seeks to reason about the dynamic, interactive and networked behaviour of the things that make up the collection. A poem, fragments of theoretical texts, and the imagined noise of the archive disturb the air, and are felt as vibrations in the body. Through the interwoven narratives of sound, space and objects, the exhibition creates uncanny proximities and unexpected associations as a starting point for investigation. Landscape with Bear is not an enduring site, but a variable event in time and space that, through the visitor’s experience, continues past the moment of encounter.
This project has been developed through a collaborative process between 13 individuals from fields spanning contemporary art, curating, art history, architecture, design and archaeology. The Collection (Unintended) is ambiguous: it has an interpretive flexibility, a material structure and granularity that means that things might be individually removed without collapsing or changing the structure of the whole. For this reason, it is plastic, occupying a space between communities of practice and allowing for cooperation across disciplinary borders. Over the past six months, this group has gathered with and alongside the physical objects of the collection to consider modes of access, and meanings that can be untangled from these relations. All aspects of the project arise out of this collaborative process.