Ever Archive

The Publications and Publication Projects of Hans Ulrich Obrist
Library mezzanine
12 NOV 2021 - 15 AUG 2022
Pad2 800x450 cover

By Joseph Grigely

EXHIBITION GUIDE


Ever Archive: The Publications and Publication Projects of Hans Ulrich Obrist is an exhibition devoted to the Chicago-based publication archive of the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is Artistic Director at Serpentine Galleries in London. Since 1991, when he organised his first show — The Kitchen Show — in his apartment in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Obrist has curated over 400 exhibitions and interviewed over 1,000 individuals: artists, scientists, filmmakers, historians. This prolific activity has resulted in an archive of thousands of publications and documents, including essays, books, transcripts, exhibition ephemera and exhibitions presented as publications, as well as drawings, photos and video documentation.

 

The overarching theme of the exhibition involves exploring how the documents in an archive constitute nodes within a network of human relations. An archive in this respect is not merely a collection of documents or an enumeration of their publication history, but a diverse array of information that underscores the people, the ideas, and the cultural projects that contributed to their materialization. Archives are essentially latent knowledge; they provide, for each succeeding generation, answers to questions that have not yet been asked. Ever Archive evolved as a way of showing how the materials of the archive reflect upon Obrist’s curatorial practice of creating links between people, disciplines, venues, and continents — a sustained practice of cultural hyphenation.

 

With Obrist’s cooperation, Joseph Grigely has been compiling the archive since 1997, treating it as both art and as scholarship. As part of his teaching practice at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Grigely has organised project-based classes to address specific aspects of the archive. Over fifty students have participated in developing the archive over the past seven years. They have contributed to compiling a style guide for the bibliography; indexing documents in a bibliographical database; producing publications, including a Visitor’s Guide to the Hans Ulrich Obrist Archive; and they have also produced over 15 vitrine exhibitions based on material in the archive.

In Ways of Curating (2014), Obrist wrote: “Exhibitions should develop a life of their own.” Ever Archive is an exhibition that does exactly this: it takes place over a period of eight months, with new material added to the exhibition each month, as a series of unfolding chapters.

The exhibition also includes a history of the archive itself — essentially, an archive of the archive — documenting the ways it has changed over time in relation to the context of technological resources and human knowledge.

 

Ever Archive: The Publications and Publication Projects of Hans Ulrich Obrist is a project of the Serralves Foundation — Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, organized by Philippe Vergne, Director, and Sónia Oliveira, Librarian.

It was conceived and curated by the artist Joseph Grigely, with the support of Rachel Wang and Tess Davey, Obrist’s assistant Max Shackleton, and other members of the Hans Ulrich Obrist Publication Archive team.

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The Publications and Publication Projects of Hans Ulrich Obrist

EXHIBITION GUIDE


Ever Archive: The Publications and Publication Projects of Hans Ulrich Obrist is an exhibition devoted to the Chicago-based publication archive of the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is Artistic Director at Serpentine Galleries in London. Since 1991, when he organised his first show — The Kitchen Show — in his apartment in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Obrist has curated over 400 exhibitions and interviewed over 1,000 individuals: artists, scientists, filmmakers, historians. This prolific activity has resulted in an archive of thousands of publications and documents, including essays, books, transcripts, exhibition ephemera and exhibitions presented as publications, as well as drawings, photos and video documentation.

 

The overarching theme of the exhibition involves exploring how the documents in an archive constitute nodes within a network of human relations. An archive in this respect is not merely a collection of documents or an enumeration of their publication history, but a diverse array of information that underscores the people, the ideas, and the cultural projects that contributed to their materialization. Archives are essentially latent knowledge; they provide, for each succeeding generation, answers to questions that have not yet been asked. Ever Archive evolved as a way of showing how the materials of the archive reflect upon Obrist’s curatorial practice of creating links between people, disciplines, venues, and continents — a sustained practice of cultural hyphenation.

 

With Obrist’s cooperation, Joseph Grigely has been compiling the archive since 1997, treating it as both art and as scholarship. As part of his teaching practice at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Grigely has organised project-based classes to address specific aspects of the archive. Over fifty students have participated in developing the archive over the past seven years. They have contributed to compiling a style guide for the bibliography; indexing documents in a bibliographical database; producing publications, including a Visitor’s Guide to the Hans Ulrich Obrist Archive; and they have also produced over 15 vitrine exhibitions based on material in the archive.

In Ways of Curating (2014), Obrist wrote: “Exhibitions should develop a life of their own.” Ever Archive is an exhibition that does exactly this: it takes place over a period of eight months, with new material added to the exhibition each month, as a series of unfolding chapters.

The exhibition also includes a history of the archive itself — essentially, an archive of the archive — documenting the ways it has changed over time in relation to the context of technological resources and human knowledge.

 

Ever Archive: The Publications and Publication Projects of Hans Ulrich Obrist is a project of the Serralves Foundation — Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, organized by Philippe Vergne, Director, and Sónia Oliveira, Librarian.

It was conceived and curated by the artist Joseph Grigely, with the support of Rachel Wang and Tess Davey, Obrist’s assistant Max Shackleton, and other members of the Hans Ulrich Obrist Publication Archive team.