Centre Pompidou – Paris 2014

“[Torrent] is a house where artists would be able to breathe in.” Yeung Yang, Soundpocket, Hong Kong

The presentation of Torrent held at the Bibliothèque Kandinsky on June 5, 2014 took place in the presence and participation of Monique Burger (collector and founder of Burger Collection, Hong Kong), Muhanned Cader (artist, Colombo/London and contributor to Torrent n°2), Alain Kantarjian (artist, filmmaker, Paris/Beirut, and contributor), Franck Leibovici (artist, Paris), Mariah Lookman (artist, Lahore/London), Pak Sheung Chuen (artist, Hong Kong, contributor to Silver Silence / Golden Speech, the supplement to Torrent n°2), Vittorio Santoro (artist, Paris and contributor to Torrent n°1) and Paul Winstanley (artist, London, and contributor to Torrent n°1).

The presentation, in the frame of its ongoing program of publication seminars led by director Didier Schulmann, was hosted by the team of the Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Didier Schulmann and Mica Gherghescu together with Daniel Kurjaković and Linda Jensen, editors of Torrent.

Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre de documentation et de recherche du MNAM/Cci, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Torrent is an artist-driven magazine focusing on previously unpublished source materials assembled by artists in the course of the research and conceptualization stages of their works. It encourages a reflection on how artists collect information, formalize observations, or test out certain paths of inquiry. The source material is selected and put together by the artist him- or herself in conversation both with the editors and the designer. Torrent also contains conversations with cultural and curatorial practitioners, and essays by curators and critics, whose work relate to source material, artist’s archives, alternative methods of research, or more generally have been questioning the ethos of professional work and the various tendencies in the arts field.

A close-reading approach, most often one single work – ideally a work outside the known signature style of the artist – is the point of departure for the artist contribution. Hence, Torrent consciously shifts away from the more widespread approach of mediating works through what could be called the representational “binarism” of most commercial art magazines: the illustrative installation shot, which frames the most typical or salient features of a work, combined with a descriptive text, expounding its critical or historical significance or value.

Instead, often heterogeneous visual materials are accompanied by the comments of the artists, including a short introduction by the editors, which sometimes hints at the larger context of an individual practice, sometimes speculating on its cultural implications. Nevertheless, the tone of Torrent remains straightforward in order to keep the threshold of access low, and not too explanative. This in turn enables the reader to playfully immerse him- or herself into the material, to visually circle around, be it for example a 1970s advertising for a Cavern in the United States or a hand-drawn sketch of the camera movement of an artist’s film. Likewise, by keeping the level of explicit interpretation low, echoes and resonances between the various contributions are enhanced with a more cumulative process of insights and discoveries taking center stage.

The various contributions in Torrent are not thematically unified, but presented in an editorial montage that is paratactic consisting in a “side-by-side” sequence stretching throughout each issue. This allows the contributions to stand out as specific takes on the issue of source material and artistic process to be studied individually or comparatively. The inherent and unique sequential property of the magazine format allows the artistic process to be studied individually or comparatively and helps bring into view source material as a specific genre of study and research carried out by artists in multiple and differing ways as in the larger context of research done in other fields such as the humanities or science. Artistic practice or research as something not only bound to what can be seen and explored in the physical gallery space.

Varying from artist to artist, the source material can comprise of sketches, collages, photographs, scripts, quotes, newspaper articles, diagrams, copies of books, texts, google maps etc. In the end, such diversity of source material might encourage a reflection on how works are constructed and imagined—conceptually, philosophically, or poetically—without prematurely tying it down to fashionable tendencies of contemporary art discourse or presumed methodological or cultural relevancy.

Still, while Torrent singles out a certain component of artistic practice, it is not conceived outside of some pertinent relations to other sites of practice and creativity such as exhibition making, curatorial procedures, archival protocols, critical thinking, or the like. Rather, such relations are seen as inherent in the topical site of ‘source material’, which seems symptomatic of the recent shifts and transformations of the field of art. In this sense, Torrent intends to contribute to an understanding of some of the contexts influencing the production and reception including institutional, cultural, historical or ideological aspects.

Download free pdf issues of no. 1 and the pilot edition.

For French version, see below.

Torrent est une revue d’art contemporain axée sur la pratique artistique et plus spécifiquement sur les documents de source, rassemblés par les artistes au cours de leurs processus de recherche et de conceptualisation. Basée sur un concept de Daniel Kurjaković, et coéditée avec Linda Jensen, la revue mène une réflexion sur la façon dont les artistes recueillent des informations, formalisent leurs observations, ou testent les diverses pistes d’enquête avant d’aboutir à l’ « œuvre ». Les matériaux correspondants sont sélectionnés et mis en page par les artistes en étroite collaboration avec les rédacteurs et les graphistes. Torrent inclut également des conversations avec des chercheurs et praticiens culturels, ou des essais de commissaires et de critiques, dont le travail porte sur des questions concernant les archives d’artiste, les méthodes de recherche, ou plus généralement l’éthique de travail en domaine d’art.

Favorisant l’approche du « close reading », les diverses contributions dans Torrent sont présentées dans un montage éditorial séquentiel qui, à travers un matériel visuel hétérogène, interroge au plus près de sa production la recherche artistique comme un genre spécifique d’études dans le contexte plus large de méthodologies de recherche effectuées dans les domaines des sciences humaines.

En parfait continuité avec ses réflexions sur le rôle de la revue et du document d’archive, la Bibliothèque Kandinsky recevra la revue Torrent en présence de Muhanned Cader (artiste, Colombo/Londres, collaborateur de Torrent n° 2), Alain Kantarjian (artiste, cinéaste, Paris/Beyrouth), Franck Leibovici (artiste, Paris), Mariah Lookman (artiste, Lahore/Londres), Vittorio Santoro (artiste, Paris/Zürich, collaborateur de Torrent n° 1) et Paul Winstanley (artiste, Londres, collaborateur de Torrent n° 1).

La rencontre aura lieu le jeudi 5 Juin 2014 à partir de 18 heures et sera animée par Daniel Kurjakovic et Linda Jensen, éditeurs de Torrent et par l’équipe de la Bibliothèque Kandinsky.

Entrée libre sur réservation obligatoire à reservation.bibliothequekandinsky@centrepompidou.fr

(une contremarque sera délivrée lors de la confirmation de réservation)