Hessel Museum of Art/CCS BardI've Got Something in My Eye
Museum collections on occasion start from a privately owned collection, which then later
becomes the foundation for a public institution. The Marieluise Hessel Collection is also an organically and intuitively assembled collection art formed over more than three decades, and is now on permanent loan to the Center for Curatorial Studies and Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College. This situation provides students and visiting curators with material that can be continuously reviewed, questioned and reorganized. The collection, the museum itself, as well as the Center's library and curatorial archive are active parts of a learning situation; together they form a continuous challenge to the institution and to the students who use them as an arena for discussion and study.
Is there a difference between public and private art collections? Coming from a country where most art collections are public, a private collection on permanent loan to a public institution raises questions on what is public and what is private. When invited by CCS/Bard curator Maria Lind to work with the Marie Louise Hessel Collection, Bik Van der Pol did not have the illusion that they would be able to settle this question once and for all.
Rather, they wanted to see a collection as a testing-ground where their questions, with the help of the works, can be tested and tried.
Having had the opportunity recently to work with the public collections of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (The Netherlands) has prepared ground for the artists to explore the Marieluise Hessel Collection, reflecting on notions of history, responsibility, private passion and public interest.
This museum has contemporary works that in some cases overlaps or almost 'touches alongside' with the Marieluise Hessel Collection. As an instrument of articulation Bik Van der Pol included some of their own works as well as pieces from the Van Abbemuseum.
For I've Got Something in My Eye different positions through works of art, documents and traces are brought together in one arena, aiming to create a choreography of looking and perceiving. Following Henri Bergson's idea that perception is a function of time, we can see how works are surrounded by different sources of knowledge and how they grow from and are feeding back into that.
Objects, once acquired for specific reasons, are in a constant flux of change in the context and dynamics of a collection (in continuous discourse with and in the company of other concepts and perceptions), as well as in time. In this dynamic of discourse and commodification one sometimes tends to overlook their initial intention and reasons for existence.
Bik Van der Pol considered compiling this exhibition as a process of 'uploading the works with circumstantial evidence', thus proposing a new circle of communication between different types of 'reflections'. By creating tensions, lines and links between the works, spaces and different types of information they aim for a set-up in which works, objects and documents can manifest themselves as stepping-stones, while being aware that their knowledge is only based on their experiences and is therefore certainly not complete, as being always inflected by directions they develop through their own artistic practice.
With I've Got Something in My Eye they critically investigate the limits and possibilities of the collection as a whole as well as their own boundaries, in order to use the exhibition-making process as an opportunity for people, works and sources of knowledge to meet, exchange, collide and discuss.