Meriç Algün Ringborg: The Library of Unborrowed Books
Saturday January 26, 2013
Art in General, in collaboration with The Center for Fiction, New York, presents Stockholm-based artist Meriç Algün Ringborg’s New Commissions project, The Library of Unborrowed Books. The project is curated by Anne Barlow.
The project, presenting hundreds of books that have never been borrowed from the Center for Fiction’s library, calls into question what subjects in any contemporary moment have ‘currency’ or desirability, and brings attention to topics and stories that have been temporarily overlooked but that could have their relevance restored in the future.
Following its first iteration in 2012 with the Stockholm Public Library in Sweden, where the project aroused great public and critical interest, for the presentation at Art in General, Meriç Algün Ringborg will make selections of books from the Center for Fiction, the only nonprofit in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction. These books will then go on institutional loan to Art in General for the public to access for the first time in an environment that emulates the atmosphere of the Center, but that is experienced within the context of a contemporary art space.
Excerpted from a dialogue with the artist:
“The Library of Unborrowed Books bases itself on the concept of the library as an institution manifesting language and knowledge, of the passing of awareness and the openness to all types of people and literature. This work, however, comprises books from a selected library that have never been borrowed. The framework in this instance hints at what has been disregarded, knowledge essentially unconsumed, and puts on display what has eluded us.
Why these books aren’t ‘chosen,’ why they are overlooked, will never be clear but whatever each book contains, en masse they become representative of the gaps and cracks of history, or the cataloging of the world and the ambivalent relationship between absence and presence. In this library their existence is validated simply by being borrowed, underlining their being as well as their content and form by putting them on display in an autonomous library dedicated to the books yet to have been revealed.”
Meriç Algün Ringborg was born in 1983 in Istanbul, and currently lives and works in Stockholm. She studied at Sabancı University, Istanbul, from 2002–2007 and obtained a BA, Visual Arts and Communication Design, followed by an MA in Fine Arts from the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm (2010-2012). Selected recent and upcoming group exhibitions include: When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2013); Signs Taken in Wonder, MAK, Vienna (2013); Incremental Change, Galeri NON, Istanbul (2012); When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco (2012); Show Off, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2012); An Incomplete History of Incomplete Works of Art, Francesca Minini, Milan (2012); Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 and Danföredanföredanföredan, Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm (2010). She had her first solo exhibition in Stockholm, 2010 titled The Concise Book of Visa Application Forms. Other solo presentations include A Hook or a Tail, Frutta Gallery, Rome (2013); Becoming European, Meessen De Clerq, Brussels (2012); Prompts and Triggers: Meriç Algün Ringborg, Line No.2 (Holy Bible), Witte de With, Rotterdam (2012). Currently she is a resident at IASPIS – The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists. For more information please visit www.mericalgunringborg.com.
Image credit: The Library of Unborrowed Books, Stockholm, 2012. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Art in General was founded in 1981 by artists Martin Weinstein and Teresa Liszka in the General Hardware building—hence the name “Art in General”. Weinstein and Liszka aimed to create a space where artists could exhibit unconventional work and exchange ideas with their peers. The first exhibition took place in 1982. In its 30 years, the organization has emerged as one of New York City’s leading nonprofit arts organizations.
Today, Art in General fulfills its mission in a variety of ways, including the organization and presentation of exhibitions, hosting a national and international artist residency program, and through regular public programs and membership events. Beginning in 2005, its exhibition program has focused on the commissioning of new work from artists.
Art in General has two main gallery spaces, one on the sixth floor, and another in a street-level storefront known as the Project Space. The exhibition program focuses primarily on presenting artists’ work created through the New Commissions and Artist Residency Programs. When the commissioned artworks and projects are event-based, ephemeral or non-objects, special formats or programming are designed for the public to experience the work.
Art in General’s New Commissions Program
Since its launch in 2005, the New Commissions Program has formed the core of Art in General’s programming, and was designed in direct response to feedback from artists who expressed a need for more in-depth support for the production of new work. Art in General gives selected artists the opportunity to create and present new work by providing them with a high level of organizational and conceptual support including artist fees, production fees, exhibition space, a solo exhibition, promotion, and opportunities to engage with audiences through free public and online programs.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services; Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; and Affirmation Arts Fund. Support has also been provided by Commissioners’ Circle leaders Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters Sandra Ho and Jang Kim, Cher Lewis, and Joyce and Ken Siegel; and Commissioners’ Circle members Sue Berland, Roya Khadjavi Heidari, Sean Johnson, Mary Lapides, Steve Shane, and Jeremy E. Steinke. Additional support for Meriç Algün Ringborg’s project has been provided by SAHA Association.
General support of Art in General is provided by General Tools & Instruments LLC; the Lambent Fund of the Tides Foundation; Abraham and Lillian Rosenberg Foundation; Bloomberg Philanthropies; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Enoch Foundation; Ralph E. Ogden Foundation; ConEdison; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Foundation for Contemporary Arts; and by individuals.