Not all Documents are Records: Photographing Exhibitions as an Art Form

Exhibition / Liverpool Biennale

Not All Documents Are Records was a photographic exhibition exploring and responding to the question:“Can photography produce the history of an art exhibition and still retain its artistic autonomy?” The title of the show refers to the fact that, in archival and administrative terms, not all documents are systematically filed and organised to become official records.

For instance, a document is still amendable and changeable, whereas a record is not. If we use this difference as a metaphor for photography, we could say that the type of photography we are presenting in this show is an ‘opencdocument’ more than a ‘closed record’. Exhibitions are transient and temporary events. At the end of each display, they only survive in the form of documentation and in the viewer’s memory. Photography plays a key role in documenting these events, as it is one of the most reliable and durable mediums. However, photography is a language that is ambivalent in nature. It can simply be a tool that has to perform a specific task or function, as well as an artistic and creative strategy of communication. Through new commissions and the display of historical work by four international artists, this exhibition looks at three renowned European art platforms: the Liverpool Biennial, dOCUMENTA in Kassel (Germany) and the Venice Biennale. Cristina De Middel was asked to imagine the Liverpool Biennial 2014. Ugo Mulas documented one of the most controversial opening ceremonies in the history of the Venice Biennale in 1968. Hans Haacke captured the second edition of documenta in 1959 and Ira Lombardía infiltrated the legacy of dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012.

More info pdf Press release