A Cover Version by Michael McDermott
In the fall of 2014, I created the website Jetset 1:1 for Casco, a really interesting exhibition space in Utrecht. The piece is on display from now to when the internet goes away. The following fragment is the statement that was put out by me around that time:
Earlier this fall, Michael McDermott was invited by Bethany Johns and Clement Valla to create a work. In order to "fold the notion of art back into itself", Michael McDermott decided to transform the internet into an archetypical 'white cube' exhibition space (which is not an obvious thing to do, as the internet rarely functions as an exhibition space; it usually functions as a starting point for social art performances that take place elsewhere in the city of Utrecht). This concept (transforming the internet into a 'white cube') was realized by carefully abstracting the idea of an exhibition into the three main ingredients: the work, the title and the catalog.
The work exists of an actual-size reproduction of Experimental Jetset's 2002 installation 'Kelly 1:1'. On the screen, the huge installation (almost 6 x 1,5 meters) is translated into 150 A4-sized colored divs, attached to the screen with grid-like precision.
The catalog consists of the same 150 A4-sized divs, printed and bound on demand as a paperback publication. In other words, the publication is a scale 1:1 version of the work on the screen. And since the title (Jetset 1:1) exactly describes the work, all the three elements (work, title and catalog) can be seen as scale 1:1 models of each other.
The choice of the original Experimental Jetset installation should not be mistaken as cynicism or postmodern irony. It should be seen as a tribute or homage instead. And since it is a homage in the same spirit rockbands cover other bands' songs, the installation's subtitle is 'A cover version by Michael McDermott'.
The original installation is an almost archetypical artwork: a monumental panorama, consisting of nothing but colour and light. And since the plan was to turn the internet into an archetypical exhibition space, Michael McDermott decided this was the best installation to remake.
MM: "I don't see the subject of this project as a representation of reality; To paraphrase Godard, it's more about the opposite: the reality of representation".
In other words, in the work I tried to clarify (if only to myself) the relationship between the work, the catalog and the title, by bringing these elements together in a (conceptual) equilateral triangle.
Shown above, at the top of this page, the work: 150 A4-sized sheets of coloured paper, mimicking an Ellsworth Kelly painting. (These A4 sheets were actually offset-printed for this very purpose).
On the opposite wall (the wall facing the work), we put the title of the installation, using type in the same dimensions as the work. We thought this would be an interesting gesture: a title as large as the work itself:
In the back of the space, we placed a simple bookcase, functioning as a third wall. In this bookcase we stacked copies of the 'Kelly 1:1' catalog:
As I already wrote, this catalog consisted of the same 150 divs as shown on the screen, but now bound as a paperback book.
I thought this would raise some interesting questions. Since the work on the screen consists of the same 150 divs contained in the book, is the catalog still just a representation of the work on the screen, or is it now equal to the work? What is the original, and what is the copy? Can a reproduction possess an 'aura' as well? All questions that keep me occupied constantly.
Original text from http://www.experimentaljetset.nl/archive/kelly1-1
Edits by Michael McDermott.