Alfredo Jaar, Ronald Jones


Foreword by Amy Simon and David Neuman, director Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall.
Interview: Alfredo Jaar by Dore Ashton, author and professor in art history, NYC (1988).
Interview: Ronald Jones by Jerry Saltz, author and art critic, NYC (1988).

Exhibition catalogue no 3.
36 pages, color, illustrated, soft cover. Texts in Swedish/English.
Published 1989 by Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall.
Price: 150 SEK (approx. 16 EUR)

Interview: Alfredo Jaar by Dore Ashton

Dore Ashton: Do you believe there is such a thing as a “Third World”? If so, is your work intended to speak for, or about, the so-called “Third World”?

Alfredo Jaar: The “Third World – does not exist, it is an ideological construction of the West. The original meaning has been completely distorted and world events have made it obsolete. I am very curious to know why Alfred Sauvy, who “invented” the term and who is still active, has not written something about this extraordinary saturation of contradictory meanings associated with his creation. What exist today are different countries in different stages of development, and in different areas of development; but, most importantly, we have to realize how unequal are the power relations between these different countries. And what my work does, or tries to do, is simply to account for this situation. Now, in answer to the second part of your question, my work speaks only for myself, I will never assume otherwise. That is probably one of the most important features of my work, that is a non-paternalistic approach. The work focuses in no world in particular but on this kind of void or widening gap between different societies.

DA: How would you characterize the relationship between a conventional conception of art and what you do?

AJ: I don’t know what is a conventional conception of art today. I would characterize what I do simply as art. A more extensive definition would be that I create socio-critical installations, most of them photography based. My background as an architect and filmmaker is clearly at play in these works. I am interested in the notions of site-specificity (scale, context, time) and audience participation (physical involvement leading to mental involvement). Deleuze refers to these notions as l’image – mouvement and l’image – temps.

DA: I see in your work both elegance and passion. Do you aspire to make Òart” or to inform?

AJ: The elegance is part of the seduction process I use to induce audience participation. But I do not see why art and information have to be two contradictory “functions” On the contrary, I am interested in one feeding the other in a highly critical dialogue. My work is clearly informed by public events, they are the starting point of all my aesthetic investigations. And I guess the most passionate works are those when I have been personally involved in the documentation of these events. And that “information” aspect fascinates me: To go there, to see for yourself, to talk to people, investigate in-situ. After that real life contact, it is difficult not to be emotionally involved. (…)

Excerpt from the catalogue interview with Alfredo Jaar by Dore Ashton, Nov 15th, 1988, New York.