As the editors at Art Practical and Daily Serving get ready to take their end-of-summer vacations, we find ourselves swapping reading lists—the articles we’ll dive into once have some uninterrupted time to catch up on what our colleagues have been writing. We’ve gotten so excited about what’s on our lists that we want to share them with our readers. Between now and Labor Day, Daily Serving will feature the efforts of our fellow chroniclers of art and culture as part of our Summer Reading series. Today we are pleased to present an excerpt of Lynn Hershman Leeson′s interview with artist Amie Siegel, originally published in the Winter 2014 issue of BOMB Magazine. Many thanks to the editors at BOMB for their help in making this series possible. Enjoy!
Lynn Hershman Leeson: There is a relationship in all of your work—from The Sleepers to Black Moon/Mirrored Malle, to Provenance—in the way it extends beyond the viewer’s first presumption. Can you talk about where your pieces actually end, if they are ever complete, or if they are designed to be perpetually incomplete?
Amie Siegel: The way I’ve been working recently is to create projects that have a constellation of works within them. They are distinct but interconnected works, shown together or separately to varied extents, depending on the piece. That’s true of Black Moon and Black Moon/Mirrored Malle as well as the new work, Provenance. The new film traces the furniture of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret backward from collectors’ homes to exhibitions to auctions to “restoration”—and finally to Chandigarh, India, where they originated, so to speak. Then, just this past Saturday, I filmed the Post-War and Contemporary sale at Christie’s in London, where the first in the edition of Provenance was auctioned. The film of the auction, Lot 248, is now a second element of the work—to be exhibited with the first. The third element predates the auction: the auction-catalog spread proof, embedded in Lucite. There are multiple objects, temporalities, and gestures, and they can mirror and complicate one another.
LHL: What happened at the auction? Does the person who bought it also own the furniture?
AS: There were multiple people bidding—in the room and on the phones. People had also left written bids for the piece. Naturally, my aspiration was to let it get up into higher figures not for monetary purposes but for screen time. [laughter] An auction lot can go by quite fast. I could have ended up with a twelve-second film. The multiple bids became an extended volley. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, given the wide dispersal of the furniture and the overlaps between design and art collecting, if the person who bought the film also owned some of the furniture.