Selected by Unseen Platform
Based in Vienna – but comprising a revolving cast of artists and curators from several different countries – the creative endeavours of the collective 280A ask questions of individual authorship in the context of collaboration.
Whilst its constituent members each continue to pursue individual careers, 280A was established as a parallel network through which artists could participate in a host of activities beyond the traditional confines of the gallery setting, with a focus on producing new works for specific projects. Covering an impressive range of fairs, print editions, exhibitions, publications and festivals, 280A’s association of artists identify Vienna as their central locus despite working nomadically as far and wide as Turkey, Chile, Ukraine and Argentina.
In a site-specific installation at Unseen Amsterdam’s CO-OP – a designated project space for collaborative ventures in contemporary photography – 280A presented an array of images that were each made separately by eleven of its members. Working around themes of emotion and sentimentality, it is the act of bringing these individual fragments into a shared assemblage that generates discussion. Namely, the artists are interested in exploring the notion of authorship. As images overlap and intermingle, entering into dialogue with one another and establishing new games of visual association, a sense of collective representation displaces the individual positions for which the images once stood.
The act of merging their works in this way naturally led the artists to consider their emotional reaction to trading in their individual sense of authorship for the sake of the collective. In turn, this discussion led to another about the desire for symbiosis in an age of social media when everyone is out to impress on Instagram, encouraging their followers that their life consists of a busy string of intense experiences. For 280A, maybe only through giving up your individuality for the group can “real” intensity develop.
Beyond the images themselves, additional swathes of bright colour and graphic elements serve to unite the installation’s different components, lending the work another layer of intensity. It is only in a small booth – curtained off from the otherwise frenetic surroundings and emblazoned with the words ‘NOW THERE SHOULD BE VISUAL SILENCE’ – that viewers are offered a break from the aesthetic overload. In this small void, a water bed and a bespoke audio track await, allowing visitors a calmer moment to reflect on our image-based landscape in a digital age.