Considering the continuing explosion of the art market, the current exhibition at Xavier Hufkens Gallery in Brussels, takes a much needed stance of opposition. Entitled, “I would prefer not”, joins together three artists, Bernard Bazile, Pierre Huyghe, and John Knight, each having maintained a stance against the comodification of the artist’s production.
The Frenchman, Bernard Bazile, first rose to prominence in the 80’s as one part of the artist team, Bustamante/Bazile. While his former partner went on to fame and fortune, Bazile instead focused on pursuing the work that he thought was needed, rather than what the market place wanted. Although he remains little known outside France, he is often cited by young French artists as a major influence on their work. This will be the first time his work is presented in Belgium since his 1987 exhibition at Galerie Micheline Szwajcer.
Pierre Huyghe has remained very elusive through his rejection of objects, instead focusing on creating situations that ask us to question how we construct and translate our visual experiences. He also remains hard to define because he often works in collaboration with other artists, so one must wonder what part of the work is his. Huyghe has previously exhibited at Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.
John Knight is one of the original conceptual artists and as such has always challenged the role art plays in society. Although remaining relatively unknown in the art world, Knight has long enjoyed the support of established conceptual theoreticians such as, Benjamin Buchloh, Anne Rorimer, John Welchman, and Luk Lambrecht. In grouping together these disparate artists, “I would prefer not”, attempts to refocus our attention to what art is suppose to be about, the exchange of ideas. It’s ok to say no.