Aleksandra Mir


By Marcus Verhagen
Art Monthly, #386, London, May 2015

... For the 2009 Venice Biennale, Aleksandra Mir made a million postcards, which were emblazoned with the word ‘Venezia’ and available for free in the Arsenale but variously showed a Nordic fjord, snow-capped mountains, a flock of flamingos, New York’s Central Park, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio and other sights from around the world. Wittily reflecting on biennialisation and the rise of art tourism, the work intimated that the contemporary art circuit resembles the tourist industry inasmuch as it trades on the distinctiveness of different locations while effectively rendering those locations interchangeable through its own global reach, through the spread of its formats and mechanisms ...

... The works of Haaning and Superflex, Ondák and Mir also combine site-specificity with institutional critique, but in these the site has been superseded by the flows that cross it to the extent that it loses almost all specificity. These pieces have a certain diagnostic force but for the most part they forfeit the capacity to resist the deterritorialising thrust of globalisation. Indeed, when a work reduces a site to a point in a larger circuit, it runs the risk of identifying itself with that thrust. Work that turns the site into a husk may facilitate a clear-eyed look at the networks that play a large part in determining our experience of place, including the networks of the art world, but, by the same token, it will sacrifice what little resistant force the site still has by replicating the mobility of global capital.