culturia is a research program which aims to offer time and impetus to visual artists to reflect on their processual thinking construction and thus make it explicit. This interest is getting concrete through the constitution of what we call the « non-material collection ». In other words this collection propose to encourage, gather, preserve, curate and reflect what Adrian Piper posed as « the meta-art[1] ». Derived from the Greek « after », « adjacent », « beyond » it  regards to the searching for deeper procedures, opens the space for what is in between and beyond it. « Meta-art » means to express a reflexive point of view on art dynamics and can therefore be understood as a theoretical consideration of artistic practice parameters – processes, procedures, methods and attitudes.

culturia defines the content of artistic work as an integrative and processual entirety – that means a change of focus to what too many times remains forgotten or hidden from the majority of the public and is lost in time with the death of the artist. Thus, culturia decided to record and preserve parts of the content that does not fit into the material mediation and gives the unique opportunity to establish an important document able to clarify the relation of the artist with her / his creation.

The use of the term « non-material » need to be understood within its paradoxicality. In an epoch where digital data collects masses of subjective and collective consciousnesses, the bipolar borders of immateriality/materiality are indistinct. Whether it be in oral or written format, knowledge production is not fitting into clear dichotomic pattern with one could operate. The topus « non-material » got chosen to underline the focus of a dynamic interplay of senses within the creational process, rather than the supremacy of the eye or other single senses when the outcome embedded in video and texts is displayed. culturia is digging for what is not yet visible but embodies the latent and implicit source for the emergence of art. Hence, culturia places itself outside to what is called visual production considered as artworks and is spread within the traditional contemporary art network.

It must be mentioned that this approach is not lead by a regressive concept of glorifying artists as being the only ones able and allowed to speak about art. Outside-perspectives from art critics, art historians or other thinkers addressing artists and their practice within their studies are a necessary source for fundamental concepts and interdisciplinary linkages. culturia´s consciousness of a rhizomatic knowledge system allows the project not to diffuse into a contribution to what one could call an ego-centric interest of the artist.

Nonetheless culturia proposes to follow the diagram of starting at the subject to extend towards objective knowledges. That means seeing an artwork not as a window to explain art and therefore objectivating the artist but giving insight in the subjectivity and art as an interaction with it´s context and other subjects. The reading of artist´s text or the engagement with a conversation between acquainted artists envoks intersubjectivity which eases the way towards establish knowledge. Thus the « non-material collection » breaks down the isolation – from artistic work and art-audience. In contribution, the static bipolare sides are beginning to flexibilize when the artist is her/himself playing a receptive role in her/his reflection.

On the other hand culturia do not intend to lead towards pure transparency or demystification of artistic processes. In contrast, through the evolving reflection of interwoven processes, streams of collective consciousness and interdependence let just assume an entity without beginning and ending whose elements one can not simply add.

culturia´s mission includes archive issues and ambitions. Because culturia believes artists are major actors of countless fluxes within past and present influences – their writings and oral statements are a precious and eclectic corpus. But publishing artist texts means for culturia to support the distribution of multiple stories of emerging artist rather than reproducing known and single stories of a few. The growing numbers of artists, networks, organisations and structures should compete together to sustain the increase of knowledge-plurality.

The « non-material collection » is based on the artist´s self-reflection process and its irruption which seems to be possible through both – an introspection within the writing or the direct discourse which teases out the spontaneous appearance of these processes.

culturia decided to privilege two methods: texts written by artists and recorded discussions between artists.

In both, culturia considers « the artworks as processes rather than products [2]».

(Text by Gwen Lesmeister and Gauthier Lesturgie)

[1]   Adrian Piper, “In support of meta-art”, Artforum, 12:2, October 1973, p. 79-81.

[2]   Laurence Corbel, Le discours de l’art : Ecrits d’artistes 1960-1980, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Rennes, 2013, p. 280.