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Frequent Long Walks
proposition by Christopher Green
Featuring Etel Adnan, Richard Artschwager, Vija Celmins, Jem Cohen, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber,
Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Mary Heilmann, Agnes Martin, Vicken Parsons, Nigel Shafran,
Philippe Van Snick, Anne Truitt, Christophe von Weyhe
Hannah Barry Gallery, London
9 Mar - 23
The following text was reproduced on the reverse of a poster published on the occasion of the exhibition in an
edition of 500 copies.
I do not wish to tell you what to think nor tell you what you see. All I ask of you is to look and to think for yourself.
There is a title, there is a location, there are objects and ideas made by various people, and there is of course
you, and for a moment, me. What I will outline are my reasons for bringing these artists together and, in turn, for
making an exhibition.
To start: The show’s title is derived from a description of the Swiss writer Robert Walser, in which it was stated
that the writer was known to take ‘frequent long walks’. I was introduced to Walser’s work through a conversation
with the artist John Tremblay, whose work I included in an exhibition in Brussels in 2014. Here this thread is
continued, picked up; Tremblay is not here, and Walser alone cannot be held as the sole driving force for these
artists being brought together.
In recent years there have been a handful of exhibitions dedicated to the writer’s legacy. My interest in Walser
is predominantly in the nature of his very person; his attitude, as opposed to citing him as an influence or
inspiration to the work of the artists here. For example, Hermann Hesse was a great admirer of Walser’s work,
and I am an admirer of Hesse’s work, and yet Hesse is not in the show, but his kindred spirit might be. To focus
too heavily on Walser in this instance, I feel, would be as if to spend so much time checking the ingredients that
the pot boils dry, and the meal spoils — a kind of scholarly interrogation of his work. Scholar of Walser I am not,
and do not aspire to be, for this is not what Walser as a writer requests from his readers. Similarly I do not expect
you to have done your ‘homework’ before viewing the works in this exhibition.
When making exhibitions I am willing - at times positively eager - to co-opt the unexpected — the unforeseen.
After all, one cannot be truly certain how works by a diverse selection of artists will actually ‘sit’ next to one another
- how they will behave - until the works requested are received and positioned within their predestined temporary
accommodation: the gallery.
Whether or not the artists were aware of Walser’s work was not a prerequisite for their inclusion in this exhibition.
Common to the artists and the particular works chosen to form this exhibition, is the notion of time and gestation.
Most of the works included could be described as possessing a kind of slowness in their burn; giving-off
seemingly very little on first encounter; artists who frequently stoke the viewer’s perception; unravelling their
ideas, their speech, slowly over time.
I’d ask you to consider what it means to take frequent, long walks; to surrender to the journey; to not choose the
quickest route from A to B; to have an awareness - not fear - of time and of being. This is perhaps the best
offering of the show’s ‘subject’. Walking as an attitude, rather than walking as the physical act of transportation.
I could go on, but I would like to leave where I began with this introduction: I do not wish to tell you what to think,
or to tell you what you see. All I ask of you is to look, look, and look — and to walk for yourself.
1. On 6th November 2012 I visited John Tremblay’s studio in Williamsburg NYC, where upon arrival I also -
unexpectedly - encountered Fabrice Stroun who was attending to some administration at John’s kitchen table
— introductions were made and John recounted a story about a car he owned that was made the same year
as I was born. The exhibition in question was titled En-trée and held at Middlemarch, an apartment-based
project space in Brussels, 25th January - 22nd February 2014.
2. Notably A Little Ramble: In the Spirit of Robert Walser at Donald Young Gallery, USA in 2012 (Curator:
Donald Young), and Paying No Attention I Notice Everything, Robert Walser and the Visual Arts at Aargauer
Kunsthaus, Switzerland in 2014 (Curators: Madeleine Schuppli and Thomas Schmutz).
3. “I am a kind of artisan novelist. A writer of novellas I certainly am not. If I am well-disposed, that’s to say,
feeling good, I tailor, cobble, weld, plane, knock, hammer, or nail together lines the content of which people
understand at once. If you liked, you could call me a writer who goes to work with a lathe. My writing is
wallpapering. One or two kindly people venture to think of me as a poet, which indulgence and manners allow
me to concede. My prose pieces are, to my mind, nothing more nor less than parts of a long, plotless,
realistic story. For me, the sketches I produce now and then are shortish or longish chapters of a novel. The
novel I am constantly writing is always the same one, and it might be described as a variously sliced-up or
torn-apart book of myself” Robert Walser, Eine Art Erzählung, 1928-1929.
4. In his essay entitled Walking from 1863, Henry David Thoreau wrote “There is in fact a sort of harmony
discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles’ radius, or the limits of an
afternoon walk, and he threescore years and ten of human life. It will never become quite familiar to you.”
5. One of my motives with this show was to bring together artists whose works are, for the most part, lesser
known, or indeed less frequently presented to a British audience.
6. As Richard Artschwager often told people: “Shut up and look”. Ref: Richard Artschwager shut up and
LOOK, 2012 (Director: Maryte Kavaliauskas).
Annotations to a frequent long walk
42 x 29.7 cm
Edition of 500
Street view of exhibition
Vicken Parsons, Hreinn Fridfinnsson
Richard Artschwager, Ian Hamilton Finlay
Ian Hamilton Finlay
Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Richard Artschwager, Etel Adna, Richard Artschwager
Richard Artschwager, Etel Adnan, Richard Artschwager
Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Richard Artschwager, Etel Adnan, Richard Artschwager, Christophe von Weyhe, Michael Dumontier &
Richard Artschwager. Etel Adnan, Richard Artschwager, Christophe von Weyhe, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber
Etel Adnan, Richard Artschwager, Christophe von Weyhe, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber, Philippe Van Snick
Philippe Van Snick
Agnes Martin, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber
Nigel Shafran, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber, Vija Celmins, Hreinn Fridfinnsson
Vija Celmins, Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Jem Cohen & Anne Truitt
Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Jem Cohen & Anne Truitt, Richard Artschwager, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber, Mary Heilmann
Jem Cohen & Anne Truitt, Richard Artschwager, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber, Mary Heilmann, Vicken Parsons
Mary Heilmann, Vicken Parsons
Mary Heilmann, Vicken Parsons, Mary Heilmann
Mary Heilmann, Nigel Shafran
Nigel Shafran, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber
All images courtesy Hannah Barry Gallery
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