Please Reply: Art-as-instruction
Paulo Luis Almeida
The notion of art-as instruction has its roots in the readymade, in fluxus movement and in situationist strategies. However, it can hardly be called a genre, a movement or a strategy. Art-as-instruction is the imperative mode of art, by which the work becomes a request, an order, an invitation, a wish. It stems from the singular way in which the artist makes use of daily forms of communication – the email, the letter, the poster, the recipe, the manual, the visual instruction, the speech act – to trigger a response that is not just contemplative but participative. Each instruction piece bears a request of a shared responsibility, transforming the spectator in an author by reinventing the piece that is yet to come, the work that was not planned that way. It is also a counter-culture act: by misusing hierarchical models of communication or art’s tacit power relations, it induces a change of its codes and of the frame of intelligibility that supports them.
R.S.V.P. seeks to interrogate instruction modes as shared creative acts, open to compromise and transgression, placed between request and performance, between the protocol to follow by the letter and the pure game.
What prompts us to participate in these protocols and in the free game of the instruction? What makes us see the image or read the text as an invitation, an order or a provocation?
Squandering and sharing:
A conversation with Carlos Nogueira
Between 1979 and 1983, Carlos Nogueira produced a series of performances, objects and drawings using a particular creative model based on instructions, invitations and wishes. He called this performing model “squandering and sharing”, as a contrast to the attitude of “restraint and permanence” which defined his later work.
In this conversation, the multiple variations of the game of instruction in the creative process will be explored by discussing four works presented by the artist himself – Pencil to paint grey days (1979), I like you very much, street action (1980), if I could, I would give you a piano (1980) and Landscape(s) with wind (1983).
Paulo Luis Almeida is a Professor and head of the Department of Drawing at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto. Is art practice is based in the intersection of drawing and performance.
Carlos Nogueira (1947) is an artist who works in sculpture, painting, installation, drawing and performance usually using humble, everyday materials. He is represented in all major Portuguese contemporary art collections.