Stories from the ACG Arts Collection

Unpacking the ACG Art collection

In his essay “Unpacking my library” of 1931, Walter Benjamin introduced us to his own collection of books and notebooks, and also to some of his most inspiring ideas about collecting. He described a “genuine” collection as a magic encyclopedia with divinatory powers and occult properties. In Michael Taussig’s own words on the subject: “Because the items in a collection gravitate into one’s hand by chance, a collection can be used as an instrument of divination, seeing that chance is the flip side of fate. For sure this is a wild idea, like you find with the private investigator… In other words chance determines (what an odd phrase!) what goes into the collection and chance determines how it is used. (Imagine a social science that not only admits to this principle but runs with it!)”
[Fieldwork Notebooks, 100 Notes-100 Thoughts No001, dOCUMENTA(13)]

The project “Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin” is fascinated by the obvious chance element in the ACG Art collection. As with Benjamin’s books still in their crates, so this collection is “not yet touched by the mild boredom of order”.
It is mostly compiled through donations and not yet fully catalogued; it is accessible through occasional shows and a low-fi website page still “under construction”; it includes precious art, idiosyncratic objects and under-valued, little-known treasures like the works of Mihalis Lekakis and Nikos Velmos among others.

Curator Nadja Argyropoulou took a de-tour inside this collection and picked things (artists, works, objects, stories) that were calling to the project as they were being called by it. They were brought to the attention of invited and commissioned artists who take their cues from these encounters and go far & beyond, towards an understanding of the lively arts.

Presented on this page are the selected objects and works by, Minos Argyrakis, Joseph Beuys, Yannis Bouteas, Charles Bukowski, Gerard Haas, Mihalis Lekakis, Liliane Lijn, Frances Rich, Takis, Nikos Velmos, unknown photographers.

Present in this project is a related question: what do collections and archives (i.e. classification, preservation, evaluation) mediate about the rituals of ownership and how do they affect memory’s investigations and art’s life; which is the ‘lack’, the ‘blind spot’ in them; what about the objects or ‘quasi-objects’ that participate?

Minos Argyrakis ( )

Joseph Beuys ( )

Yiannis Bouteas ( )

Charles Bukowski ( )

Geraard Haas ( )

Mihalis Lekakis ( )

Liliane Lijn ( )

Frances Rich ( )

Takis ( )

Nikos Velmos ( )

Unknown Photographers ( )