Artworks That Ideas Can Buy
A project by Cesare Pietroiusti
Artworks for sale in exchange for visitors’ ideas. The only viable currency to acquire a work by a leading South African artist is a good idea – a comment, an opinion, a proposal or suggestion.
About Cesare Pietroiusti
The work of Cesare Pietroiusti (b. 1955, Rome) is principally concerned with questioning ideas of art’s perceived worth, the logics of economy and consumption, as well as problematic and paradoxical situations that are hidden in common relationships and in ordinary acts. Reflections on value and communication characterize his work,which often manifests as a condensation of complex networks of relationships.Works presented in South Africa to date include a short essay published in the anthology One Million and Forty-Four Years (and Sixty Three Days) (SMAC, 2007); and Money-watching, executed for Bad Form: Things and Stuff (blank projects, Joburg Art Fair 2009), curated by Kathryn Smith, Christian Nerf and Francis Burger.
Money-watching was originally presented as one of a series of performances entitled Paradoxical Economies at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham in 2007. In the same year, he participated in Performa 07 (New York) and, together with the collective Space (Bratislava), founded Evolution de l'Art, the first contemporary art gallery to deal solely with immaterial artworks. Pietroiusti is best known for his Pensieri Non Funzionali (Non-functional thoughts) (1978 – ), a work comprising approximately one hundred useless, parasite or incongruous ideas to be realised as art projects by anyone. In Pietroiusti’s words, a 'Non-functional thought' can be 'a way of observing fragments of reality, of creating connections among events, people, places, perceptions, or beliefs, an idea that is not directly determined by carrying out an activity, and therefore appears without a reason'. His practice is 'an attempt to better articulate these thoughts by building a communicative context in which they can be recognized by others as part of a shared heritage'. Various artists and curators have taken up some of these ideas, including the exhibition Democracy! (Royal College of Art, London, 2000). His project Things That Are Certainly Not Art, for which about 500 people contributed to the show, inaugurated the Bloomberg Space in London in 2002. In 2003 he took part in the 50th Venice Biennale with Riserva Artificiale, a collective work with a group of students of the local Academy of Fine Arts, consisting in narrative explorations of people and places of Porto Marghera, the industrial area of Venice. One of the founders of the Centro Studi Jartrakor (Rome) and of the Journal of the Psychology of Art, he has also shown at Serpentine Gallery (London, 1992) and at the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk (1996).