Ronny Heiremans

extension#Writing a letter to Ian Wallace
extension#Writing a letter to Ian Wallaceextension#Writing a letter to Ian Wallace

Maybe he took his cue from Daniel Buren's 1971 essay "The Function of the Studio," the now highly regarded manifesto of post-studio practice, in which Buren disavows the romantic belief that an artist's practice deeply coincides with his or her actual personal workplace. The issue being one of my one preoccupations I was drawn to At Work (1983) an ironic piece by the Canadian artist Ian Wallace, which shows the artist performing his creative labor in his studio (in front of a camera). We see Wallace reading a text and taking notes. The artist’s studio, no longer showing traces of any physical-creative labor (plaster moulds, paint stains…), has become a minimal space in which art making has transformed into what we today define as ‘knowledge production’.
I pondered on Wallace’s cerebral activity, and responded to it with a video of myself in my studio in BEMIS, Omaha (1999). At the time I hadn’t seen At work, but I was struck by the visual resemblance between my own footage and his. Writing a letter to Ian Wallace is a reinterpretation of the original Omaha footage. I just added a credit/title line that doesn’t scroll over the screen, but remains immobile in the middle of it. Instead a portrait of myself, reading and taking notes, scrolls top to bottom over the screen. This inversion of hierarchy in imagery was my response to Wallace’s portrait, in which he’s reading a text of the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard on “irony”.