Tobias Kaspar

"Tobias Kaspar: The Street (Chinatown)", Swiss Art Awards, Bundesamt für Kultur, Basel, Switzerland, 2015

For "Chinatown Gate", Tobias Kaspar removed two pieces from Cinecitta Studios and exhibits them both as objects and props. Though only partly present and visible, the pieces of Chinatown Gate remind the viewer of their original function: as a welcome sign for Chinatown. The props link the exhibition context to the set representing a market, or its fashionable version like the Dover Street Market. Like any strip- or shopping-mall, this market includes an area with independent units in distinct spaces presenting different goods and concepts. While the other works on view in Tobias Kaspar's exhibiton aren't directly related to an actual Chinatown or the Broadway-Set, they do continue to emphasize and question the relationship between fine arts and the entertainment industry. The artist is interested in issues regarding distribution and timing. Kaspar's brand of jeans, for example, slowly over the past three years, has brought the artist to an ambiguous position which cannot be read as a critique per se but a destabilization of the artist himself - the term critique and it’s very notion is at stake here. Kaspar’s working approach is heavily informed by both conceptual art and Institutional Critique. But while Institutional Critique typically relies on distance, Kaspar’s relatively close proximity to his subject matter creates a delicate conceptual position that questions as much the art to be critiqued as the position of the artist as such. In his Institutional Critique the institution is the artist.  His relation to literature, film or fashion functions as a support structure, an ethnological approach, looking at other fields so as to better examine one’s own.