Author: Rainald Schumacher --- Date: 11/28/95--- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Liam Gillick
Basilico Fine Art
26 Wooster Street

At the opening there was a fucking sexy nurse in an exciting dress. You know, just white, playing around with all the fantasies about hospitals and the 'sisters' within.

The exhibition is somehow disturbing. The huge table -it's not really a table- functions as a pedestal for two books written by Mr. Gillick. "Erasmus is late"--deals with the fictive possibility that the working class or labour class didn't necessarily have to become what it is now, if Erasmus would have come to the dinner. It is some kind of a mixture between a fictive dinner before the early developments of capitalism and a guide through London. "Ibuka" is some kind of an expose for an opera. The books are displayed on this low sculpture together with a few pages, excerpts from the text. But anyway, who wants to change the world? Maybe at some time there was the possibility that everything could have moved on in a different kind of history. That seems to be the fictive point in the book "Erasmus Was Late". You know, I'm mixing up past and presence. Was he late or is he late? Who is this guy anyway, Erasmus von Rotterdam?

There are three yellow plastic sheets with round holes in them hanging from the wall. There is a blue one too, cut at the lower half into vertical strips. There are some papers on the wall showing different logos--mainly about the sentence "erasmus is late". There is a bundle of yellow papers (the manuscript for one of the books). A simple wooden wall construction creates a small room-like a cubicle. Everything together could be part of a conventional art exhibition, and, at the same time, I think that the conventional definitions for objects like these (as art) don't function anymore.

Even if the objects look very similar to a lot of objects that are defined as art, you have to find new definitions. Definitions which need terms beyond visual appearance, which come rather from social context. Take a look at the monochrome wall-painting near the entrance - halfway up the wall it ends, unfinished. There are some letters like the names you have at the entrance of a show -"I K A B U". I'm mixing even up these few letters. How could I be able to think about definitions?

It's crosstown traffic--the different activities of Mr. Gillick connected in the project, asking the question: how can a public space like a gallery be used, opening that space up for a communication that transcends the common boundaries by the means of complexity?

But, what the hell is going on? Is he creating a myth about the golden age, again? Erasmus was late, maybe he never made it to the party? No, he came. Lawrence Weiner has been there. He likes this kind of action. McNamara too. Have you met him? Beuys?

It's an remembering you are late to something that is fucking important, some kind of social utopia. What did somebody suggest to me, Prinzip Hoffnung by Ernst Bloch? Could we find the tools for a definition there, in the history he is creating? One could just start to doubt that utopia would be necessary for the development of something else, after the wall was crashing down and the iron curtain didn't exist anymore. Yet, utopia looses all its power when it turns to reality, wenn das woertchen wenn nicht waer [if the word "if" did not exist], we would say in German.

-Rainald Schumacher

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boetnagel and yo --

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