Genius without Talent

Genius without Talent

de Appel, Jongensschool, Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 59

Participating artists include: Karel Appel, Andrea Božić & Julia Willms, Constant Dullaart, Jakup Ferri, Robert Filliou, Beatrice Gibson, Laura Grabstiene, Ane Hjort Guttu, Annabel Howland,Alan Kane, Tomasz Kowalski, Suzy Lake, Pantelis Makkas, Sylvia Sleigh, Praneet Soi, Helene Sommer, Leon Spillaert, Piotr Uklanski, Adriaan de Villiers, Nina Yuen.

Why should I value conceptual art? Why are the paintings which I think are beautiful not exhibited in the museum? As a viewer, can I simply decide for myself what I consider to be art and what I reject as nonsense or pseudo-intellectual hogwash? What do I have to know before I can make these sorts of value judgements? To what extent are the appreciation and production of art a form of specialist knowledge? Can I see the difference between amateur art and professional art? Can anyone do anything?

We live in a world in which the boundaries between expertise and amateurism become increasingly vague and transparent. On the one hand it is as though user-generated content has a central place and anyone can make a contribution to the production of art and knowledge using channels such as Youtube and Wikipedia. On the other hand, according to the journalist Koen Haegens, we paradoxically live in a “casting society” in which it is important to demonstrate that you can achieve a particular level of excellence – just think of the popularity of programmes such as “So you think you can dance”, “America’s Next Top Model”, but also “The Apprentice”.

Generally speaking, citizens have become more articulate and worldly wise than forty years ago. They want to participate and make their own choices, rather than having a blind trust in the opinions and ideas of authoritative people or institutions. The expert and the specialist, like the (public) intellectual, have become minority positions. This has implications for various areas of expertise, and certainly also for the way in which West European society and the media view art and artists today.

Artists such as Joseph Beuys and Robert Filliou caused a stir in the 1970s with their “erweiterde Kunstbegriff”. Beuys maintained that “everyone was an artist”, and in the context of his project “La Republique Geniale” (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1971) Filliou made a number of conflicting statements about the genius that everyone has. In 2011 we see the relationship between concepts such as genius and talent, art and creativity, knowledge and expertise in a different way. On the basis of a broad range of contemporary and historical art practices, this exhibition explores in an associative way what the concepts of the “hobbyist” and “amateurism”, “layman and specialist”, “genius and talent” mean today from the perspective of contemporary art. One of the guiding principles is that anyone can look, but not everyone can create works of art.

The title of this exhibition was inspired by the work of the French artist Robert Filliou, who referred to himself as a “Genius without Talent”.

- Opening Friday 15 July, 6 -9 p.m, by Benno Tempel, director of the Gemeentemuseum (The Hague) and co-organizer of ZomerExpo 2011.
- Finissage: Sunday School on October 2nd, at 4 p.m, by Jan Jaap Knol, director of the Fonds voor cultuurparticipatie. Prior to the Sunday School, there will be a guided tour at 3 p.m.
- A series of workshops and lectures will be organized in the context of the exhibition in September. For further information follow the link to www.deappel.nl from 15 July.