Jan Svenungsson

Jahre, Lutz. "Collaboration between artists and librarians in a German magazine",

in: Art Libraries Journal, 23.1.1998

In 1997 the German art libraries magazine, AKMB-news: Informationen zu Kunst, Museum und Bibliothek, began a series of collaborations with contemporary artists, who provide original visual or conceptual contributions for some issues of the journal. The artists' work refers mostly to the context of museums and libraries.

Even though the desire had existed for quite a while, it was only three years ago that German art and museum librarians founded their own association the AKMB (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Kunst- und Museumsbibliotheken = Association of art and museum libraries)(1). One important part of this process was to launch the Association's own journal, AKMB-news: Informationen zu Kunst, Museum und Bibliothek. This journal has now been successfully established as a lively forum for the discussion of art and museum library matters. Nearly all German art or museum libraries and many personal readers subscribe to AKMB-News, which appears three times a year with a distribution of about 400 copies per issue. The editor's team is always ambitious to broaden the perspective on new discussion subjects or on new perspectives and collaborations(2). The journal wanted particularly to meet the requirements of the art and museum libraries scene, and has published many articles on books and on subjects relevant to professional discussion in archives, museums, libraries and documentation centres. Art as a topic occurred only in combination with these professional issues.

Therefore the editor's team decided on a more direct approach and started a series of projects with artists. The idea was quite simple. The AKMB-news asked some contemporary artists for original visual or conceptual contributions which refer to the context of museums or libraries. In order to offer the artists as much freedom as possible for their ideas, we tried to restrict them as little as necessary.

The first artist who participated was Jan Svenungsson, a Swedish artist born 1961 in Lund. As his work comprises also some artist books(3), he immediately agreed to participate with a special work for the AKMB-news issue 2 (1997). The ceuvre of Svenungsson comprises many different media and genres, for example sculptures (e.g. a chimney in the EXPO-Park, Taejon), photoworks (in the collection of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm), graphic arts, paintings and other forms. A survey of his works, including the AKMB-news contribution, can be consulted via the Internet on his homepage http://www.foto.gu.se/Staff/jan/jan.htm

Svenungsson's project was an intervention as follows: he decided to delay his intervention until the layout of the new issue was completed. He then received print-outs of the finished layout, chose one spread, and inserted his own page in the middle of it. On each side of the inserted sheet was a manual mirrored drawing of the layout on the adjacent page. The hand-drawn page was then printed together with the rest of the magazine. The introductory editorial note on the project had to be written - due to the special character of the intervention - well before the project was carried out. The next artist project is planned for AKMB-news issue 1 (1998). Herwig Turk is an Austrian artist, born 1964 in St. Veit. Turk lives in Vienna and works, in addition to other topics, on the phenomenon of forgetting. Forgetting is a collective artists' project (more information: www.forgetting.com). In September 1997 they installed a 'forget/ting' kiosk in New York, at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 10th Street. This was a huge advertising column with an invitation for passers-by to drop in all the things they wanted to forget. These things were then eliminated by the artists. The motto of the kiosk work is: FREE YOUR MIND FOR NEW THINGS: FORGET!

In his contribution for the AKMB-news Herwig Turk will bring the phenomenon of forgetting into the context of libraries and museums. It is supposed to be a very interesting attempt to look at strategies of forgetting in institutions which mainly try to conserve and rescue things from being forgotten (much like looking into 'the eye of the tiger'). Herwig Turk will participate with a text and with a work which will fill empty spaces - left intentionally in the journal - with a stamp. Just one word will be stamped: VERGESSEN (forgetting).

Quite a few interesting artist projects are already in preparation for the years 1998 and 1999. What the year 2000 will bring us - who knows? Interested, critiques, proposals? - more information? Please contact:

Lutz Jahre