do it is possibly the first touring international art exhibition in the Kunsthal Rotterdam’s history which requires no exhibits to be physically moved from A to B. The brainchild of international curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, it consists of more than 250 sets of instructions which have been formulated by artists including Carsten Höller, Yoko Ono, Gilbert & George, Maurizio Cattelan, Ilya Kabakov and Erwin Wurm, to be acted upon in each location the exhibition is presented at. Artists, museum staff and visitors alike take part in creating this DIY exhibition, which is never the same in any of its versions, inspired by the way in which a written musical score is reinvented in a unique way every time it is performed, as well as by the conceptual, minimalist and Fluxus practices of the 1960s and 1970s. The project has now been running for more than 20 years, generating new versions of itself around the world, encouraging the involvement of the local community in each fresh edition.
At the Kunsthal, Rotterdam-based artists including Chris Versteeg, Arno Coenen, Iris Roskam, Abner Preis and Luuk Bode have been invited to follow instructions by Trisha Donnelly, Jay Chung and Sol LeWitt. Meanwhile, Opperclaes, a platform for young contemporary art, will select calligraphers and muralists ─ including Guido de Boer, Koen Taselaar, Attah, The Phoney Club, Bijdevleet en Hughes Joseph ─ to visualise do it instructions by Stephen Kaltenbach, Marjetica Potrč and Louise Bourgeois.
As well as artists and businesses, entrepreneurs and sponsors have also been asked to get involved with particular do it instructions. A media partner has been invited to realise the Shoot it instruction by Cao Fei (2004), which is to “film yourself as if you were a world leader”, and which is described in 13 meticulous steps. Other do it instructions are directed at visitors and invite them to actively participate, like When you are walking, stop and smile at a stranger (2002) by Louise Bourgeois , WISH PEACE (1996) by Yoko Ono, Instruction (2002) by Joan Jonas and A Black not Straight Line (2001) by Sol LeWitt. Even after twenty years, this open exhibition model is as topical as ever and gives new meaning to the concept of “an exhibition in progress”.
do it , Kunsthal Rotterdam, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands; until 30 August; www.kunsthal.nl
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1. Joan Jonas, Instruction (2002). Courtesy of Moore College of Art and Design.