Texts/Hospital Equipment
Author:
Nikolaj Stobbe, 2015
Source:
Hospital Equipment

SUPERFLEX establishes a platform where a gesture is being activated when the art collector purchases the installation, Hospital Equipment. The collector (normally defined as a person or institution who collects objects) will in this case at no moment be in possession of the objects, since the installation after being exhibited will be immediately transported to a hospital in Gaza. The collector will, however, possess a certificate of authenticity and a photograph of the installation as a form of documentation or proof of the work’s existence in the art world.


Evidently, when installed at Den Frie, Hospital Equipment is an artwork – having the concept of the ready-made in mind. The piece is within the institutional context and discourse. It can be argued that the work shifts identity when displaced to another context (the hospital), where it will regain its initial purpose – saving lives. 


Does the artwork exist in the objects, in the documentation (the photo), in the gesture, or does it exist in the various places simultaneously? 


By selecting the hospital equipment and placing it within the art institution, SUPERFLEX is performing business as usual with references to the notion of the ready-made. In contrast to this, the act of removing the ready-made from the discourse of the art world into the context of its intentional use turns the fundamental idea of the ready-made upside down. The ready-made approach is possible because of the power structures of the art institution, quoting the concept of the white cube (everything placed within the gallery walls becomes art). Removing the actual objects from the art world but keeping the artwork within an art collection (the documentation of the act) enables SUPERFLEX to sustain an ambiguous identity of the tool in different, normally divided, worlds. 


With Hospital Equipment, SUPERFLEX insists on the possibility that an object can be both an artwork and a functional object at the same time, within different contexts and spheres of discourses. Furthermore, the tool adds a philanthropic quality to the art collector that holds the certificate of authenticity as well as challenging the definition of a collector.


 

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