Un Futuro Certero (A Certain Future)


HDV transferred to DVD
Single channel video, color and audio
Courtesy of the artist




Chance is central to most of our own lives and their winding turns. The unforeseen affects us by asking us to alter course and to adapt in relation to it.[1] As an artistic strategy, chance indicates a refusal to take an authorial position and a reinforcement of the contingent aspects in artistic production. The use of chance underlines that artistic production, its reception and meanings are never completely isolated, but subject to external decisions and interventions.

When invited to put forward a proposal for a solo show at L’Espai Dos de la Sala Muncunill in Spain (2011), Tamara Kuselman decides to suspend her personal responsibility and to surrender her practice to a fortune-teller that is supposed to formulate the content of the exhibition. The common pressure of delivering a proposal long time in advance is seemingly loosened up by the confidence in the miraculous effects of chance and unforeseen consequences of risk-taking. But is there any direction of freedom when working under instructions? Is it a relief to be told what to do or a suffocating constraint? How far can one embrace risks?

Kuselman plays out and undermines the myth of the artist taking risks and letting things to get out of her control. Yves Klein’s photomontage “jumping into the void” is a direct reference. The exhibition becomes an

experimental protocol to test notions of control, authorship, power relations and consent against the backdrop of a game. The fortune-teller’s predictions are predictable in their randomness. The artist is instructed in great details what to produce and how to place the materials in the space. The exhibition as prescribed by the fortune-teller is a collage of arbitrary elements spanning from pieces of sex-lingerie, black and white images of star celebrities to the required presence of a man with broad shoulders, black eyes and defiant look. As specific as that.

The outcome is disillusioning and disempowering. Confronted with the clairvoyant’s propositions, Kuselman overturns the rules of the game. She leaves empty the exhibition space with nothing but a short video in which Kuselman playfully narrates her interaction with the fortune-teller. Following the logic of the myth, the experiment is now embedded into fiction. The artist’s decision marks an important shift into the work. Reclaiming her authorial voice, she questions the value of risk itself.
The Oshon Tarot card of Trust that guides the artist throughout the process illustrates the double-sided aspect of risk-taking. A figure with arms outstretched jumps into the void. Turned up-side down, the card shows the same figure slowly falling down. The jump into void could be as liberating as fatal with falling and failing so close.


[1] Last sentence from Jesse McKee’s text