Logan Center Exhibitions is delighted to host the first solo presentation of Ricardo Basbaum’s signature project, “Would you like to participate in an artistic experience?” in conjunction with the Logan Launch Festival and continuing through 25 November 2012.

At the heart of Basbaum’s complex and playful work is the circulation of a simple, painted metal object (pictured above), amongst users who express the desire to participate. The object derives its shape from a sign that Basbaum designed and has deployed in search of what he calls “New Bases for Personality” or NBP.*

Once it is in their hands, participants (be they individuals, groups, or institutions) define what to do with the NBP object, where it will be taken, and how their artistic experience is documented. The results are radically open – “the fruit of your own desire and effort.” Traces of this process are then uploaded to a website, which has been documenting the evolution of the project since its inception in 1994 (http://www.nbp.pro.br). Basbaum’s work offers a base—at once concrete and dynamic—for imagining the workings of our networks.

On the occasion of the exhibition, the Logan Center Gallery space becomes a physical interface with the project. On display will be an array of videos showing past use of the NBP object as well as a set of diagrams that have evolved with its circulation during the past 18 years, across 40 cities on 4 continents. These vast mind maps, at times resembling psychedelic paintings, offer insights into the artist’s changing thought-process, which is marked by acute attention to infiltration and contamination from outside forces. One of the diagrams remains open-ended, with parts of the wall left to accommodate documentation of the NBP object’s use throughout Chicago.

Also present is a metal structure, which carves out a space within the space of the gallery, almost like the circle inside the NBP object and sign. Part sculpture, part enclosure, part resting space, Basbaum’s metal structure facilitates the contemplation of the diagrams but remains full of potential for other uses.

Turning a fundamental question into an artwork, Ricardo Basbaum has devised a project “about involving the other as participant in a set of protocols indicative of the effects, conditions, and possibilities of contemporary art.” In hosting the project, Logan Center Exhibitions invites the public to take up the great challenges associated with confronting one’s own desire, defining the terms of participation and considering what it means to experience art today.

Curated by Monika Szewczyk, Visual Arts Program Curator, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

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