Jan Svenungsson

Rizkalla, Alex; Davis, Julie. h., Melbourne 1998

h. was initiated as a project to extend conversations and concerns that resulted from a studio residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin by Alex Rizkalla and Julie Davies. As an artist-initiated project, h. was proposed to develop different methods of communicative processes and forms of artistic dialogues outside the conventions of institutional networks.

The possibilities for discussion were facilitiated by many of the overseas artists travelling to Melbourne during the exhibition series. Other forms of dialogues were generated throughout the projects and are recorded here as drawings, instructions, correspondence, etc in the Chronology and as After thoughts. The After Thoughts have been extracted from replies solicited in response to a series of questions, which were formulated by some of the Melbourne-based artists reflecting on the project early in 1999.

Given its premise as a project there was an intention that h. would be concerned with production processes and not simply the deployment of existing objects to illustrate definitive notions. As such h. was a generative series of events albeit with a specific premise, format and finite duration. Much of the work produced for h. favoured speculative propositions that were materialised within the immediacy of the exhibition context. Through this process context was defined in relation to artistic practice rather than site alone. Other works favoured critical practices with a dialectical focus.

The juxtaposition of varying artistic practices from differing contexts provoked multiple possibilities for convergence and divergence within and between practices. Some works underwent shifts in significance as they crossed different cultural and spatial zones, finding new audiences with their own specific emphasis. Ultimately h. underscored the specificity of the encounter between work and viewer, and the continual reinvention of aesthetic practice and experience.

(signed) h.



To:Alex Rizkalla
You write:"The idea is a shared project where the works emanating from artists from different nationalities respond to the same space, Informed by the same dialectic concerns of art." Does this mean you expect the artists to actually all make work on site? I'd love to do this, but then I would have to either take really great risks (in planning to do something fast in a space I don't know) or stay for a long time, which is difficult.



Dear Julie & Alex

I am happy to hear things are progressing at a fast pace! It sometimes feels rather incredible to be part of this friend's project on the other side of the world! I sure will come! I have a project based on the idea that I will bring, or send, a small number of bloodstain paintings, and then will take photographs extensively first here, then during the trip (which I hope I will be able to do via Korea to visit my child: the Taejon chimney) then during the first days in Melbourne, and out of these photographs (which all will have been made for this purpose) I aim to reconstruct the paintings in photo-collages. Sounds obscure, maybe, but I am quite clear about it and I think it will work - and if it works it will become a very special document! Scanning the world to mime art ...



To:Terri Bird, Melbourne
Date: 01.12.97

Dear Terri
I am happy to be finally in contact with you, and I do feel excited about our upcoming show(s). In many ways I think the situation that we have between us now is very interesting: you have had some access to my work and have been able to perhaps form an idea - but I still don't know anything about you, or your work ...
For the show in Melbourne I have, however very quickly come up with a rather peculiar idea for what I want to do, actually well before I was introduced to your name. My project is based on the journey I am going to do for the show, during which I will photograph according to a conceptual idea. In Melbourne I will have to work very intensively for a couple of days to process the resulting material... Common to all parts of the show will be a fascination for the possibilities of copying. I am very fond of my idea, and I do want to try to do it, so there is not so much space for an open dialogue work between us at this point. But, as my final work in the show will be largely produced on site I wonder if there cannot be some kind of interaction between us anyhow. This is of course a bit difficult to plan - when you don't know your partner at all.
Best wishes, Jan

To: Jan Svenungsson, Berlin
Date: 02.01.98

Dear Jan
I did enjoy your e-mail, it gave me the feeling that this was like a kind of blind date. You know, you exchange information, make all of these arrangements with someone you don't know, and hope for the best. So with this in mind I have been working on a little package of information about my work.
The other thing l've been working on is what I might do for this show at h., and how I might be able to incorporate a response to the particular organisational situation of these exhibitions that extends my own project. (This project broadly speaking has to do with an interest in the materiality of a given situation and how this effects a spatial differentiation.)
What I have in mind for h. involves responding to particular physical aspects of the space and materialising them through various processes. For this I would like to enlist your assistance. I understand you have your own work planned for this exhibition but I hope you might like to participate in the project I would like to try. What I am going to do is take some photographs of the space at h. and send them to you ... What I would like you to do for me is to take photographs of the same things ... I'd like to show both sets of photographs as part of the exhibition process. This will be a kind of interaction between us.
I hope you will like the idea of doing this, I'm quite excited by the prospect of seeing what you might send back.
The other thing l've been wondering about is whether or not you have already given some thought to how you might want to use the space at h. There are several areas in the space l'd like to use. This would mean that we wouldn't have our work in distinct areas of the space but use the whole space together

best wishes, Terri

To:Terri Bird, Melbourne
Date: 03.01.98

Dear Terri
I am in a great hurry so this will be short.
About the photos: Great idea! Go for it! I'm in! About mixing in the space: I don't see any problem that can't be solved. Let's try our best!

best regards, Jan

To: Terri Bird,Antwerp
Date: 22.01.98

Dear Terri,

I've received your photos. Do I understand you right that you want me to photograph some kind of corresponding elements/pictures (as good as I can make it) in, for example, my apartment in Berlin (that is: a place I choose)? Or do you want me to go on the lookout for a place that can really provide a likeness?

best regards, Jan

To:Jan Svenungsson, Berlin
Date: 25.01.98

Dear Jan,
I'm pleased to hear my package arrived ok. As for the photos, I was interested in how you would interpret them as much as a likeness in the image. So I think the answer is that l'd like you to photograph some kind of corresponding elements wherever it suits you to do that. Thanks again for your help, I look forward to seeing your choices.

Regards Terri

To: Terri Bird,Antwerp
Date: 13.02.98

Dear Terri,
A couple of days ago I was in Paris, installing my work for a group show at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. As this is the show that for me immediately precedes our exhibition in Melbourne I thought it would be rather logical to do the photos there, in the museum space. It was fun to do!
Here you have the results. I've written identification codes on the backsides. I hope you can do something with it.

best regards, Jan

To:Jan Svenungsson, Berlin
Date: 18.02.98

Dear Jan
I received the photographs on Monday, they are great!
Many thanks. I think they make a nice series. . . I look forward to meeting up with you in Melbourne.

best wishes,