Come and See : An exercise in description in the absence of the originals

17 July - 25 September 2020
Luxembourg & Dayan is pleased to announce the opening of Come and See, an exhibition of artworks presented by way of written descriptions provided by artists, curators and creative practitioners from other disciplines. The exhibition takes the form of a printed publication available for purchase on our website, a weekly newsletter unfolding over the period of ten weeks, and a series of accompanying Instagram posts. 
An exercise in description in the absence of originals
There is something unsettling about the speed and ease with which a certain formula of presentation and display has been implemented in recent months in the art world in order to replace the more con- ventional modes of exhibition that suddenly became unavailable. Almost overnight, it seems, exhibitions, fairs, auctions and a whole range of other public art events have migrated online and transformed into digital replicas of their originals: simulations of the kind previously reserved for planning hypothetical future projects. Granted, this shift to a virtual culture of display was a long time in the making, although
its level of efficiency as a commercial strategy, or lack of it, has yet to be determined. What is nevertheless surprising is just how quickly this transition conformed to a single regulated format. One cannot help but ask what the online exhibition format tells us about the practices represented by it. Should not a sculpture benefit from different viewing conditions to paintings? Or even to another sculpture? And what about scale? Can we explore or communicate the sense (or absence) of size to our online viewers by means other than the inclusion of a generic human figure photoshopped into a vacant gallery space to pose next to the work? The answer is certainly not simple, nor is it one-sided: neither for nor against online platforms. It requires a thorough investigation into digital as well as non-digital media but also the conditions of the works these media set out to display. Indeed, art as a discipline has always prided itself on its ability to address conventional problems with creative and unbridled solutions. Therefore, why is it that so few innovative, or inquisitive, modes of presentation seem to have emerged from the recent crisis? 
In such times, much can be said for reduction: limiting the volume of one's artistic or creative output rather than increasing the volume of communication surrounding it. As one commentator recently said: 'if only it wasn't so easy to share and consume images, perhaps we would have taken the time to reflect on the absence of the originals and acknowledge what it is about them that we actually miss.' Come and See is an attempt to explore this proposition. It is an exercise in description in the absence of originals: an invitation extended to a group of contemporary artists, curators and other creatives to produce written descriptions of artworks deprived of visibility. The result offers an opportunity to engage with works through the personal experience of others. Moreover, it encourages readers to re-evaluate them at a distance, to reimagine their sensual effects, their physical constitution, and to take the time needed to distinguish how they might be seen, remembered or experienced in person.
All works in the exhibition are for sale. For more information, images and prices, please contact the gallery at: