Ian Wilson: The Discussions
Anna Rorimer, Christiane Berndes, Charles Esche, Chantal Kleinmeulman, Jan Mot
Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, 2009
out of print
This catalogue raisonné is the first attempt to provide an overview of Ian Wilson’s discussions realised between 1968 and 2008. The primary research sources for this publication were the announcement cards – generally used for the public discussions – and the certificates with which discussions were purchased and documented. Various catalogues and publications, as well as the correspondence and notes available in private and public archives, provided additional information. Apart from these kinds of documentation, the memories that organisers and participants have of past discussions contributed greatly to our search for details and context regarding specific works. In addition, the countless conversations and correspondence with Ian Wilson were a very important and inexhaustible resource throughout the research process.
Due to the nature of Wilson’s work, this project presented an unusual challenge. Amongst other things, his intention was to create an art form that would leave no residue but would exist only in the moment of its creation. He does not allow the discussions to be recorded by means of film, audiotape or photograph, and as a result there is no trace of the work itself, except in the minds of those who participated. Some of the questions we had to consider when putting together this catalogue included: Would it be possible to retrace and describe this oeuvre? How can an inventory of such temporal works be made? What would this imply in relation to the immateriality of the individual works? What might be deduced from the information gathered during the research process?