PRESTIGE: PHANTASMAGORIA NOW

28 September – 25 November 2012 

Curated by Julija Čistiakova (FR), Ignas Kazakevičius (LT), Vidas Poškus (LT)

Participating artists: Wilfrid Almendra, Pierre Bismuth, Daniel Buren, Claire Fontaine, Kristina Inčiūraitė, Žilvinas Kempinas, Juozas Laivys, Jonas Mekas, Deimantas Narkevičius, Šarūnas Sauka and S&P Stanikas.

We often speak about prestige as a high position in the society, widespread respect and admiration based on perception of achievements or quality. Often we forget the two other meanings of this word: 1) in economics and finance prestige is defined as premium amount paid in excess of the net worth of the asset buyer intends to use to derive profit; 2) the original word originates from the 17th century and was used in the sense 'illusion, conjuring trick', from French, literally 'illusion, glamour'. The change in meaning occurred by way of the sense 'dazzling influence, glamour', at first depreciatory.

The exhibition surveys the relationship between the three meanings of prestige and questions if this notion is real or just imagination boosted by the society and economical processes.

Together the works on view will trace different attitudes to the loss and/or growth of power and prestige, from irony and sarcasm to deteriorating beauty and dreams of fame. Could money and power be method for obtaining prestige? Could accumulation of capital and privileges become art’s prime intervention to social reality thus making art ‘prestigious’?

Prestige could be also understood in reference to Prestige, a book by Christopher Priest. The title derives from the novel's fictional practice of stage illusions having three parts: the setup, the performance, and the prestige or effect. In this case prestige is the final stage of a magical act during which all the “i”s are dotted but the spectator is still questioning what have happened. The two main heroes of the book – magicians –compete to produce the best prestige and become the most world-renowned magician. The same we can say about contemporary art world, where artists, cities, biennales, art fairs are in competition to produce the most interesting art event/work and gain this intangible prestige which is merely a social phantasmagoria of our times.

The accompanying catalogue features essays by Nicolas Bourriaud, Julija Cistiakova, Ignas Kazakevicius, Vidas Poskus and Minister of Culture of Lithuania Arunas Gelunas.

ILLUSTRATION:
Pierre Bismuth,Untitled, 2010, coins, gold
Courtesy Galerie BUGADA & CARGNEL, Paris

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