pages from IAN WILSON, The Discussions
published by the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, in collaboration with Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (Mamco), Geneva, with support by Jan Mot, Brussels, 2008
images courtesy we find wildness
After a few sculptural works and paintings in the early 60’s, IAN WILSON discovered that thinking and talking about his objects had as he said ‘ a greater abstraction’ than reproducing the works themselves. He then concentrated exclusively on his long-term project entitled The Discussions. The first Discussion took place in 1968 in LAWRENCE WEINER’s studio. Since then WILSON has conducted Discussions in galleries, museums, and homes internationally. Neither recorded nor transcribed, their only physical manifestation is a certificate signed by the artist marking the time, date and location of their happening and may be subsequently purchased by individuals or institutions.
I probably benefit more from the Discussions than the participants do, because I remember everything that is said, even if I do not answer immediately. If it is a good remark I cannot integrate it directly but after the Discussion I try to do that, often I’ll be doing that for months. The ideas I get from the audience have a great influence because the Discussions are a work in progress, I am very easily influenced by everyone who makes a critical comment that points out the weakness in the logical structure, or something else, it isn’t always a question of logic. It is a peculiar activity, I don’t quite understand it myself either. An artist wishes to communicate. You write and I am preoccupied with ‘speech’. I am interested in the shape of ideas as they are expressed, spontaneously, at the moment itself. By concentrating on spoken language as an art form I have become more distinctly aware that I as an artist am a part of the world. – IAN WILSON interviewed by OSCAR VAN DEN BOOGAARD, 2002
In 2006 the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven proposed to document IAN WILSON‘s work into a catalogue raisonné containing all of his discussions from 1968 until 2008. In the book, every discussion is documented separately providing factual informations as well as personal impressions of participants.
Please note that the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin will examine WILSON‘s practice through three corresponding solo presentations by HANNE LIPPARD, ADAM PENDLETON, and PAUL ELLIMAN. According to the press release his work ‘will be physically and conceptually embedded within each exhibition, serving as a framework for exploring roles of language and communication, and the broader significance of interaction between human beings. The exhibition is therefore in constant flux and changes gradually throughout the course of its duration‘.