Between Visual Quotation and Contextual Art, META Stance: Police the Police

    The Bad Wolf is a great hunter. People see it as a fierce, savage animal and approach it with caution. Unfortunately, the number of wolves living in the wild has decreased considerably. Young and even inexperienced hunters point their gun towards the target and – BANG – the wolf is dead. Conservationists’ sympathy towards the wolves and their environment makes them argue that the wolves’ extinction in large areas could cause terrible ecological imbalances. “Investing in the endangered animals’ protection” is a universal formula launched by conservationists. They plan to repopulate large forest areas with wolves, but the local community is still reluctant to the idea.
    At the 2008 edition of the Biennial of Young Artists, we felt, as artists but especially as organisers, just like conservationists when we included Miklós Szilárd’s project in the selection of the curator Ami Barak. We interpreted Miklós’s gesture of sending Sebastian Big, who was seen as a “kleptomaniac, a person with irresistible stealing impulses” as his delegate at the Biennial, as a shift from the object to the experience and the concept. But when Nicola Gobbetto’s work disappeared from the exhibition, we suddenly felt in the position of the local community, reluctant to the conservationists’ idea of repopulating large sylvan areas with wolves. We attributed the disappearance of Nicola Gobbetto’s work from the exhibition to the kleptomaniac impulses that Miklós Szilárd described as being part of his artistic view.
    What followed led to the theme of the Biennial in 2010. We then called the public guards who ensured security for the entire exhibition, until the end. We took pictures in that context, with the guards in front of the works, and these were exhibited in the 2010 edition of the Biennial; this is how the game between surveillance and sousveillance, “Police the Police”, was born in 2010. We considered that the choice between a tangible and a notional object was, visually speaking, in this case, rendered as an imperative formula and the artistic investigation could have even been doubled by a legal one.
    As the artistic strategies of institutional critique have become increasingly contradictory and complex, we eventually ended up feeling both in the position of the conservationists and of the local community, directly influenced by their ideas.
    2META, Bucharest, 2008