SIMON FARID 2016
Strategies for Secret Curating
Curated by: Lucija Smodiš
Written by: Kaja Kraner
The self-described retired artist, who, on his own initiative, provides for his existence outside of circulating in the art system, bases his work largely on the duality of his own (professional) position. Of course, many artists (local as well) face this position, when they, for example, work for money in museums and galleries but not as artists, and also occasionally enter these places dedicated to art as those, who exhibit, but only, in the best case, for symbolic capital.
But Farid, who works as a gallery invigilator in the Barbican in London, has invented a peculiar hybrid strategy, which is based on his own double and ambiguous position. His strategy can be classified to a position close to the phenomenon that he exposed in various ways in his residency project the so-called dual reality performance. Primarily, this is a term that appears in connection with magic theory and practice and it refers to a trick performed simultaneously in front of an audience and an individual belonging to this audience. This trick causes radically different perceptions of the event in both; the audience with its broader optics perceives how the staged trick affects the individual, who has fell (mostly because of his positioning) for it. The audience thus finds itself in a somewhat schizophrenic position of a revealed manipulation, which, in principle, doesn’t work (on it), and watching the manipulation work (on someone else).
This duality can be, to an extent, linked with the aforementioned hybrid strategy, which Farid practices during his work as an invigilator; strategies of secret curating, as he also titled the project realized in Maribor. Although an invigilator is one of the lowest ranks in the museum labour hierarchy, Farid has in this role discovered a minimal creative freedom, which functions at the limits of his work assignments or seeks some sorts of “loopholes”; instead of just arbitrarily arranging museum literature for the visitors, he can, for example, deliberately choose the displayed pages, he can conceive art projects based on boringly watching the visitors, etc.
The strategy of secret curating can be understood as a form of communication, which almost simultaneously communicates a dual reality, for example on the basis of the context, into which it is placed (in the Barbican centre there is paid work and Farid is the invigilator, but as a document of this same museum work, which is placed in a gallery space, it can be an art project and Farid an artist). Almost all of the complex components of the work, which fills the K18 gallery space, were conceived on a principle similar to the just mentioned strategy. Farid uses a well-considered approach to undermine and problematize the established differentiations between different forms of work, tasks and statuses, between work and non-work, and, above all, he exposes the relation between the ways in which these differentiations are instituted (through representation), as well as their fictional basis. He does this through spreading out and juxtaposing finished products, documents of the work process and drafts of future works planned for upcoming residential stays on which he also worked during his residency in Maribor.