Ruth Sacks

Open Studio (Cortex Athletico) is presented as an artist’s studio lodged within the white cube of a commercial gallery. Traditionally, the studio takes on the role of mediator between the artist and the system of the art world.

Open Studio (Cortex Athletico) is presented as an artist’s studio lodged within the white cube of a commercial gallery. Traditionally, the studio takes on the role of mediator between the artist and the system of the art world.Open Studio is made up of all the expected conventions of this sort of place: works in progress, rough drafts, a messy desk with a laptop, a collection of appropriate reference books, etc. The installation revolves around a large pinboard which maps out the documentation of a young artist’s trajectory. An image of L’Atelier du Peintre (1855) by Gustave Courbet can be found in the centre of the board. This reproduction serves as a synecdoche for the installation as a whole. As in Courbet’s painting, Open Studio confronts the intimate space of the creation and origin of the artist’s works and its relationship to the public space.Yet, ceci n’est pas a studio. The installation is a deception in which presumed certainties collapse under our feet as we familiarise ourselves with the display. This is because, while Open Studio is a playful space, it is also an entrapped one. It is a trompe l’œil elaborated from the fictional character who inhabits the installation (this person coincidentally bears the same name as the artist Ruth Sacks, a fact which many obsessively placed clues bring us back to). Open Studio is based on the forger’s art, on outright imitation, as well as the spreading of rumours and disinformation which inevitably follows the presentation of both fictional and certified autobiographical information. The trompe l’oeil, like the forgery, blurs the boundaries between reality and artifice, thereby highlighting their fragility. In this space, reality and fiction, interior and exterior, image and imagination, all flow into one another. This situates the exhibition within a neither-nor space, reflected in its doctored books, an authentic catalogue of a fictive exhibition and stereotypes of a Parisian landscape (as seen in the tourist souvenirs of the Eiffel Tower which litter the space). Only the Post-it notes, which obsessively annotate each aspect of the display, lead us back to the underlying strategy being set up. All the artist’s intentions with regards to each object in the installation are spelt out in these seemingly casual messages.Sacks toys with the gimmicks of the aesthetics of administration, institutional critique and so-called relational aesthetics. Intervening on different levels of fictions and realities, Open Studio goes back and forth between placing the exhibition within an artistic course, a personal story, fantasised ambition and the fiction of an “open studio”. At the same time it can also be seen as a fixed sculptural object.Sacks proposes an individual mythology as a way in which to represent a personalised version of the art world. Thus she questions her own role within it. Perhaps another title for this show could be Ruth Sacks by Ruth Sacks.
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