CO-OP Encounters #2: 280A

by Unseen July 19 2018

Unseen CO-OP is back for its second edition. Introduced to increase the representation of artist-run initiatives and collectives worldwide, CO-OP encourages artists to present challenging works of art, dynamic presentations and new commercial formats. In the coming months, we’ll be speaking to each of the participating collectives to find out more about the collaborative processes that drive their practice forward.

This week we are pleased to introduce 280A, an association of artists based in Vienna, Austria, with a sharp focus on contemporary art and post-photographic practice. Founder Christiane Peschek gives us some insights ahead of their presentation at Unseen CO-OP 2018.

What inspired you to start working as a collective?
The collective arose from my interest in bringing together an existing network of artists to inspire each other and expand our practices. I am deeply interested in the different ways artists approach their practice and I wanted to have the possibility to exchange and rethink my own. Working within a post-photographic context myself, I started to look for international artists with a similar approach.

How has working as a collective changed the way you interact with the art market?
As we do not cooperate with conventional galleries, our goal is to free artists from the typical representation of the artist within a gallery, including the dependency this relationship brings. Moreover, as a collective, we can reach a wider audience and expand our network more effectively than a solo artist.

What sets you apart from other collectives?
Our vision is to create an artistic network that provides opportunities for artists to present their work outside of conventional galleries and produce new works for specific curatorial projects all over the world. In our publications, we present current curatorial topics from selected artists within our network. These publications open up opportunities for the artists to reveal new insights or create a body of works. All artworks presented by us have been created within the context of 280A, so the collective acts as both a production site, a presentation platform and an independent publisher.

What do you have in store for us at Unseen Amsterdam 2018?
We will deal with the significance of the collective in times of progressive individualisation, virtualisation and ongoing fragmentation. Especially for Unseen CO-OP, we created a series of collages that reflect on the question of authorship in individual artistic production, the classical representation of individual artworks and the role of curatorial practice.   

10 artists from our collective have submitted both photography and video pieces engaging with the topic of emotion and sentimentality against the backdrop of increasing virtualisation and digitalisation. Following our exploration of individual authorship, we asked the artists to rearrange the submitted material to create layered collages. Thus, individual perspectives merge into a collective representation. In doing this, we question how emotionally affected the artists become by trading their unique positions for a collective statement. What does the desire for symbiosis mean in times where our data (images, texts, etc.) is stored in a virtual cloud joining millions of other people’s data, and where Instagram profiles reflect an urge to stage a life of high intensity?

Thank you, Christiane!

Read our recent interview with Fotoromanzo Italiano, another collective participating in Unseen CO-OP 2018, here

Image: Void 4, 2018 © 280A