Renée Green (1959, Cleveland) develops activities such as writing, teaching, and archive researching as extensions of her artistic practice. Her investigation of our society is thus informed by a wide range of knowledge derived from popular culture, critical theory, film, poetry, history, feminist thinking, postcolonial studies, politics, and sociology.
The Import/Export Funk Office installation was created in 1992 and presented for the first time at the Nagel gallery in Cologne. The exhibition was originally set out as an office dedicated to funk music and structured by metal shelves on which books, VHS cassettes, newspapers, and archive boxes were filed. In the center of the room, two monitors played videos. "Browsing booths" positioned around the shelving allowed visitors to consult the archives' content and to listen to a lexicon of keywords on the subject. Between the booths, fixed to the wall, were various texts. As the word COLLECTANEA suggests, the installation was the product of collecting, of a collection of archives of Afro-American music and literature: that of the German critic Diedrich Diederichsen, then editor of the music magazine Spex in Cologne, which Green compared with her own knowledge of the subject and supplemented with quotations, personal accounts, sounds, theoretical writings, etc.
In 1995, she digitized Import/Export Funk Office and produced a mobile version in the form of a CD-ROM which allowed the user to navigate the six fields (VIDEOS/FUNK STATIONS/LEXICON/INDEX/COLLECTANEA/MISCELLANEOUS)
that appeared on the screen. The version of the work shown at MAMCO used the same layout as Anticipation. Version 4, presented at Saint-Gervais Geneva, in 1998. The walls were painted in six Pantone colors on which the keywords were applied. The same colors were used for the cushions arranged near the low table that supported a computer containing the whole of the archive.
Just as she did with Color II (1990) and Color IV (1990) to show how the associations linked to color and, by extension, those linked to race, are arbitrary, here Green pairs together two coded communication systems known and used worldwide: a color chart and an alphabet, each of which allows many combinations to be selected. The visitors have an integral role to play, their work consisting in sitting, looking, listening, navigating, and establishing links between their own culture and what is offered up to their curiosity.
Exhibition organized by Françoise Ninghetto
In collaboration with the Fonds d'art contemporain de la Ville de Genève (FMAC)