Sitting in a Parisian cafe a decade ago, Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist was inspired by Marcel Duchamp to produce a new type of exhibition: one created by the audience using instructions from the artist. In 1919, Duchamp had sent his sister Suzanne a set of instructions to hang a geometry textbook outside her window as his wedding present to her and thus, instruction art was born.
Using Duchamp’s concept, in 1993, Obrist launched Do It, an exhibition based on artists’ instructions that, like a musical score can be reimagined and reworked in numerous ways in any geographical location, the only stipulation being that new instructions must be added with each fresh incarnation of the show. A little over ten years later and Do It is still going strong having exhibited in at least 50 different cities around the world from Reykjavik to Bangkok and Mexico City with instructions from artists including Ai Weiwei, Damien Hirst, Marina Abramovich and Louise Bourgeois.
Now, the never-ending exhibition has come to Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. As well as existing instructions from the likes of Bruce Naumanand Tacita Dean, Do It Moscow also includes new guidelines by prominent Russian figures such as Oleg Kulik, Anatoloy Osmolovsky and Alexey Shulgin.
“It is important to bear in mind that Do It is less concerned with copies, images or reproductions of artworks, than with human interpretation,” says Obrist. “Each realisation of Do It occurs as an activity in time and space … meaning is multiplied as the various interpretations of the texts accumulation in venue after venue.”
Start a rumor.
Invite a stranger into your home for breakfast.
At home, do everything you're not supposed to.
dance with a large piece of chalk
mark up the nearest surface and pay attention to the movement of your feet
Watch TV with the sound turned off for one hour.
Choose a dinning table, round or square, but not too big. Cover the top with atable cloth and place two white china plates, two sets of forks and knives and two wine glasses on it. Pull the table cloth off the table and leave the cloth and the crashed china and glasses on the floor beside the table(a thin and not too solid quality of china and glass will give the best result).
you are already doing all of it
Mix Fresh Milk From The Breast
With Fresh Milk Of The Sperm
Drink on Earthquake Nights
On Your Knees, Clean The Floor
With Your Breath
Inhale The Dust
Wash Your Bedsheets In Lemon Juice
Cover The Pillow With Sage Leaves
With A Sharp Knife
Cut Deeply Into The
Middle Finger Of The Left Hand
Eat The Pain
Facing The Wall
Eat Nine Red Hot Peppers
Take Uncut 13 Leaves Of Green Cabbage
With 13,000 Grammes Of Jealousy
Steam For Long Time In Deep Iron Pot
Till All Water Evaporates
Eat It Just Before Attack
Fresh Morning Urine
Sprinkle Over Nightmare Dreams
Text: Maryam Omidi
Image: Alexander Murashkin, Marina Kozlova, Nate Dorr, Tate Photography, Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson