For The Sixth Annual Lowlands Deleuze Scholarship Conference ‘A Grin without a Cat’ at AKI Academy of Art and Design in Enschede we developed the exhibition Transformances. In collaboration with curator Sjoerd van Oevelen I provided the exhibition design.
This exhibition was made in conjunction with the annual conference on French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The point of departure for the conference is the theme of ‘Pedagogies’, starting from the premise that what we learn is inextricably linked to how we learn it. This presentation extends to the domain of art and design practices and addresses in particular how artworks can function as forms of pedagogies in a Deleuzian approach. In the book What is Philosophy? Deleuze considers the different natures of philosophy and art. He distinguishes these domains by stating that “philosophy is the art of creating concepts” whereas “art creates a bloc of sensation, that is to say, a compound of percepts and affects”. Although their function is different, it is also true that philosophy and art have a lot in common. In many instances they are activated by similar fantasies or desires. And in pursuing philosophical quests or new experimental imagery they often turn to each other for clues to guide this process. This interaction – or oscillation – of crossing boundaries between the two disciplines in order to penetrate deeper into the matter, seems vital for both philosophy and art.
For this presentation eight artists are brought together who share the same urge to cross boundaries and challenge the status quo of how we understand the world. Their work exhibit the decisive ability to go beyond the predefined structures and supposed programs of their medium, whether it be a fashion image, a moving body, a video performance, graphic design or sculpture. With specific performative gestures the artists turn the striated materials and the visual structures of their work unto themselves. And by doing so the transformative powers of each artwork is activated. By introducing various forms of chance and serendipity they momentarily open up to virtualities which seem to de-condition common habits, create multiplicities of being and shift identities. And maybe actualise new forms of pedagogy?