The exhibition Preparatory Portrait of a Young-Girl is a teaser, a condensed montage of moments that, in the future, might tell the story of a newly emerging institution. On a limited scale, it attempts to show several attitudes and approaches to art within a format different from that of the traditional exhibition, spread in time and space and intended purely for contemplation or rationalization.
As much as possible, the space of the office for the arts has been left in its original condition, not attempting to cover up its history and initial use; on the contrary, the forgotten layers of its previous life are archaeologically uncovered and emphasized. The space itself thus becomes the first exhibit on show. Individual activities as well – the everyday work of the staff, exhibition activity, accompanying and educative programmes, as well as live events – will not be separated in the architecture and will freely mingle throughout the entire space.
Reacting in their character to the previous use of the space as a textile shop, the selected works create a sort of dreamy, unclearly determined space. While some of the art here merges with the existing environment, other items complement it and the whole is meant to awaken curiosity and amazement in random passers-by looking through the shop-window. As to the items on exhibit, visual art is next to fashion and design, and fiction as well as specialist literature are included in the exhibition. Some of the exhibited items belong to multiples series and are available for purchase, just like the books.
The material part of the exhibition will later be complemented with a series of events expanding the extent of the exhibition beyond the space of the office itself: the performance series held on 12 April on the premises of the former Bauhaus will reflect on the surrounding urban environment and on specific interventions within it.
The exhibition title refers to the book Raw Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, published in 1999 by a group of theorists around the French philosophical journal Tiqqun. It describes the figure of the Young-Girl as simultaneously one of the most important archetypes and marketing mechanisms of contemporary culture. Representing a set of moral and sentimental values celebrated in film and music, the Young-Girl at the same time also stands for their solid connection to commercial strategies of capital firms that use the association of youth and sexuality to link social attitudes with the consumption of specific products.
On a further level of perception, the exhibited works are a kind of material equipment, a necessary set of products representing, in the manner of glossy magazines, must-haves (or at least must-knows) for the Young-Girl, since her existence as a Young-Girl is affirmed specifically by selection and consumption. In another dimension, then, the exhibition constitues a set of aesthetic and conceptual strategies by which artists critically approach the metaphor of fashion, but which at the same time create a certain canon of contemporary art.