Grazia Quaroni, catalogue text, 1995

The Factory

Various important areas of common ground exist between the IAGO Gallery project and the work of Driessens&Verstappen. IAGO is a touring, recyclable gallery which can be dismantled. First and foremost, however, it is a small scale exposition space for installations "in situ".

"Artwork only appears in a series of contexts". That is how these artists usually explain the work that they make collectively. The relations of the artwork with the space which surrounds it, is just as important as the relationship between the artwork and the social context or the visitor.

The problematic of working in a scale which diverges from reality is nothing new for these artists. They have already had experience in working with maquettes. They consider these not so much as a model or project but more as reflections on the possible relations between artwork, space and site. In Model Spaces (1990), both artists made small scale reconstructions of twelve exposition spaces which are well known to the international art audience. By photographing these fascimile spaces and publishing these photos, the rules governing reality are thrown into confusion. Are they real or unreal? Large or small? Usable or reduced to objects? It's not a matter of identifying the deception or indeed of how one answers the questions, but that the questionis asked, a stimulus to thought.

According to the dictionary, a factory is a place where products are produced. Throughout the whole duration of the exhibition The Factory - a title which makes one think of Warhol but that here really must be understood in its most elementary meaning - various autonomous forms will constantly be being created, without interruption. Several minutes after they come into the world, these forms are destined to disappear again and transform themselves into other equally transient shapes. This just happens.... without, however, anything being lost. A video camera has been installed in what is termed the "documentation space". The object being carried forward on a conveyor belt passes this camera and is recorded on tape. The Factory shows the importance of the "making" of an artwork, the importance of the creative process, which certainly in this case is of much greater importance than the preservation of the artwork. The thought which lies behind this is more to reveal an intellectual dynamic, rather than to exhibit a work of art which is intended to become a fetish.

The system, the closed circuit in which energies constantly recycle themselves, the possibilities for creation and variation which multiply themselves to infinity; that is the underlying concept of Driessens&Verstappen. It's a concept which is very clearly expressed in The Factory. IAGO Gallery is an autonomous system, both in archtectural terms and in regard to its function as an exposition space. It is a compact space, which can be seen completely in just one glance. This is the reason that the artists in this situation have not wanted to exhibit the results of a process, something they do on other occasions, such as the Morphotheques. The Morphotheques came into being as a result of a collecting mania that strikes one as almost maniacal. (All collectors are a bit maniacal; that is a way of creating a universe and making sense of what that universe contains; a way of creating order in the chaos of reality, of formulating rules which are unique and self-invented, and thus the only rules of freedom.) In the Morphotheques one object after another, designed by a computer or arising by chance, are rearranged and displayed: an only apparently meaningless series, useless only when viewed superficially.

The Factory is a worthy complement to the Morphotheques series. It exposes the process itself, all aspects and phases of which the visitor can observe in all their complexity and entirety, thanks to the compactness of IAGO. The results destroy themselves after each cycle, after each transition, every couple of minutes. But this is no bad thing, because in this way the secret of the real aim of the collector and artist is unveiled: what it's all about is not the finding, but the searching.

driessens & verstappen info the factory