BASE / Progetti per l’Arte is pleased to present a site-specific exhibition by Christian Jankowski featuring works created in dialogue with the local context, the city of Florence, and with the artist-run space BASE, which was founded eighteen years ago.
Christian Jankowski’s project “No Profit” has been conceived specifically for the occasion. The artist repurposed the term as an object (a neon sign) and also as a story (visible through a list of statements on the wall, which highlight everything that made the realization of the neon sign possible). With this “intervention via a conceptual and relational matrix,” Jankowski suggests a different vision of BASE, shifting the focus from the physical space to the mechanisms that underlie the self-taxation of the artist collective. In the process, Jankowski revealed organizational dynamics that usually remain hidden. The size of the neon, in point of fact, was defined by the economic power of those who run the non-profit space.
All of this inevitably serves to confront the current situation––which is characterized by the economy of new immaterial finance––with the fact that information on the Internet is never totally correct or verifiable. In the same way, virtual friendships on social networks exist everywhere, but where no one is actually present. Jankowski’s observations do not end with BASE, though. They also includes the city of Florence:
Thus, the flip side of the installation is a second new work exhibited in the adjacent room, “Friends of Friends”. This work consists of a map of the city, a series of photographs, and other signs that testify to the artist’s happenings in trattorias and restaurants throughout the city. Oftentimes, restaurants display photographs showing the owners and staff with celebrities in an attempt to emphasize the importance or quality of the place itself. Jankowski was photographed with the same restaurant owners in the same places, recreating the exact pose of the celebrities photographed. The only things that have changed are the appearance of the people photographed with the artist, who in the meantime have aged, even if only slightly––and a sign, handwritten by the restaurant owner and held by the artist, with a phrase that answers the question Jankowski asked them: “What is the quality of a friendship?”
The process is to be completed during the opening, with the artist returning the framed new photographs to the restaurants where they were originally taken. The photographs are placed next to their models thus creating a diptych staying as a permanent Jankowski–Installation in the restaurant This project investigates the concept of celebrity, of intimacy, and of friendship in the age of the so-called global village. It proposes a reading of the work of art and the space of art as a means for discussing their roles in the society of which they are a part.