DADA Dancing - Out of the box - Juan Petry - 2022

dada dancing - out of the box - Juan Petry - 2022

This is the beginning of a story about contemporary art, about an idea, a way of realization, about hurdles, challenges and the courage to enjoy, joy, love. It is the story about stories that come and go like the people that transport them. It is the story of you.

When the social art project ARTSURPRISE was launched in 2011 and the first vending machine had its premiere in the Rotunde in Bochum, it was impossible to foresee how this idea would develop. On the one hand, there were technical hurdles to overcome. How do tobacco vending machines work? Which box size is optimal for different models from different manufacturers? Who could supply the black boxes in appropriate quantities? On the other hand, there were much more complex challenges to overcome in the art market. How do you explain ARTSURPRISE? How to win other contemporary artists for the project? What art-theoretical and practical resistances have to be overcome? How to win customers by challenging habits of seeing and thinking?

And the question in general: how do you create unique art pieces in series? And why?

The ideas of Beuys and Warhol on the one hand, the knowledge of merchandise management, logistics, programming and concept art on the other hand, were the incentive and companion for the development of the idea, for the creation of the first prototypes, for the "bringing into life" of this social sculpture.
ARTSURPRISE turns inwards as well as outwards. Inwardly, it seeks creative people who want to publish initial works, which then create a further creative process (the actual work of art) outwardly. It also offers a platform for experimentation and does not shy away from failure.

Again and again, founder Juan Petry asks, "Who won, the material or the artist?"

The first box that found its art lover in Bochum was from the ABC series by artist Sonia Domenech. A young woman had listened to the presentation of the project and after purchasing the first box she said dryly: "This is the first time in my life that I spend money on art!" There you could already see the power and beauty of this project to inspire new young people for art and creative activity.

The culture of a society is based on the decision of individual people to take care of the artifacts of artists, to secure and preserve them, so to speak - until a general interest sets in, initiated by rope networks in the art market or by dominant sponsors. "Art comes from buying!" says Petry. By this he means not so much the commercial engagement with the work as the use of a third partys resources to secure the work, and that is just often the acquisition, but much more the subsequent securing, presentation and above all communication. Even before ARTSURPRISE, the artists of the European artists network EL-DRAC began to criticize ever more loudly the existing conditions, the class struggle leading to civil war, the fragmentation of societies. This social critique, formulated in social sculpture, culminated in group exhibitions in various European countries under the title "AMOR en Guerras Civiles".

It was also during this time that ARTSURPRISE itself was developed as an idea in the artist residency CASAdelDRAGON. Petry himself often participated in the group exhibitions with his "Amazing Citizens". The austere geometric heads toured the exhibition halls and galleries with the message that in times of civil war, it is important to remember the Amazing Citizens and to be aware of the inclusive power of citizenship itself. Some multiples of the Amazing Citizens also found their way into the boxes.
No one could seriously forecast how the small world of ARTSURPRISE would evolve. And no one could know how the big world of the Amazing Citizens would continue.
Nevertheless, the signs were recognizable, and if contemporary art has a share in current world events, then it is thanks to its preoccupation with retrospectives and outlooks, with a sensitive view of current events and their consequences. And these signs reflected again and again in the works of the artist group EL-DRAC. Just as a person matures in his socialization, the ARTSURPRISE project also matured. Petry searched for himself for the "missing link" and the contemporary expression of the preliminary work of Warhol and Beuys. He found inspiration in DADA and FLUXUS.

There is a reason to celebrate: 11 years of ARTSURPRISE and the 30,000th piece of art finds its way into the box to a preserver of art. DADA Dancing celebrates the rediscovery of meaning in the meaningless, the critical discourse, the "out-of-the-box" thinking, the turn to humor, to subtle irony and the power to see oneself distanced as well. This is probably called a milestone in project management. And from then on, new doors are opening, for art, for artists, for Artsurprise, and especially for you.
Successfully grasping the opportunity of the new requires the courage to let go of the old before, without fear and without regret. Then, and only then, one can find the strength to recognize the new and reach for it powerfully.
While the buildings of this world are collapsing, it is necessary to think about the construction of the new. From this we will also draw the strength to overcome the decline and to start over joyfully and easily.
The beauty of forgiveness will be a companion. The Amazing Citizen will dare to build. Memory is helpful.
The writing of history is not to be left to the victors. The culture of the society is a container for what has to be said, connected with the will to reinterpret the message.
It is your history, because you hold a piece of contemporary history in your hands. You have the power to discard it (it is compostable) or to keep it, together with your knowledge of its origin and its history, together with your knowledge of the last years and your will to build the new.
You are the Amazing Citizen in Civil Wars. Think out-of-the-box. Remember the future.

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