Somebody told me you think I don't exist -- could you shed some light on this? Maybe it is something to do with the show that I curated for t293 and proyectos monclova called Out Sight (that featured the Alfred Johansen work that I know you like, as well other link minded works)? I've heard this a few times now from different people that you've mentioned it...
Hi Adam (presumably),
Interesting! We have heard this too of course, not that we had been saying it but that you are indeed a fiction. I think the first time we heard this was related to a similar conversation about Santo Tolone whom, it was rumoured was a 'work' by Ryan. This would have been around the time he (Santo) moved to London and we did the first show with you at Norma Mangione. The next we heard was not only that Santo was an actor implanted in to the 'art world' but Ryan had gone for the double whammy with constructing a curator too (your good self). This was further evidenced recently when we spoke to Ryan after hearing we had been selected for Mostyn. He asked if we (us and you) had ever met, upon saying no he said 'thought not, thats because I AM HIM!'. This could of course be a double bluff on his part. Whilst in Llandudno the conversation again came up whilst having a pub lunch with John, Lawrence and Alaena..the rumour was neither confirmed nor denied by John. Later that evening Jack also confirmed she had heard this.
Although we would not lay claim to starting this rumour we do of course have a history with constructing fictions. Indeed, Jack Strange once told us that when he first started working with Limoncello he thought Giorgio Sadotti was a fictional artist constructed by us. This interested us because as you know we had used the Alfred Johanson piece to 'represent' the difference between us and Giorgio for our first show at Limoncello. This piece (the Johanson) was later mistakenly ascribed as a work by Giorgio in the catalogue essay for our Nought to Sixty show at the ICA. We later took a photograph of Giorgios retrospective show (his last with Limoncello) with all the lights out by way of making a work that attempted to make true (formally at least) the Nought to Sixty text - http://thehutproject.co.uk/sadotti.html. This has also recently been folded further in to a new work, 'This Places Everything' which consists of a photograph gifted to us by Ryan for participating in his work 'We Are Constant'. The image is held to the wall using the works 'Conceptual Beard' - http://thehutproject.co.uk/beard.html - (first shown during YBA 1 at Limoncello) and a new version of 'Untitled by Giorgio Sadotti' where the image is of the show the work appears in taken in the dark. The construction being placed on a wall painted green with the work 'Its Not Me Its You Vanessa Billy' from the show within which we presented the original Alfred Johanson work - http://thehutproject.co.uk/itsnotmeitsyou.html.
So, given all this it is perhaps understandable how we have been identified as the source of the story of your existence being constructed. And given this it seems best that we should neither admit nor deny responsibility, for it is a tangled web we weave (as do you it would seem)! If the story is true we have no desire to blow your (and Ryans) cover and so do not expect clarification as to its validity. If false then it is merely an interesting after dinner speculation, but if true then it is a Gesamptkunstwerk of the first order and so congratulations all round!
Hope this finds you well..
No, it's not true. Santo is real as well -- I have met him many times and spoken to him about his work in person, and I've worked a lot with his wife Alek O., who is also real, but when I first heard of her I was unsure if she wasn't a person or a collective due to the truncated surname. Johansen is fake though, that is Elmgreen & Dragset, but I didn't tell you that. I don't know why John is neither denying or confirming it, as I've met him before in person and hooked him up with a gallery in Rome called Frutta who I did a show for. The same with Jac, who I spent time with in Rome. The thing is, I've heard about this before and used to think it was funny. I'm not really one for whoring myself out in openings, maybe that is why, and after living in London for a while I now live in Chester which might seem obscure but other than a few things all my work has been abroad anyway. I spoke with Ryan about it the other week when in London, and he says that if you google me my pictures look like I am an actor. Even though you've met me in person you still seem unsure. It's becoming a bit annoying now. Ryan saying that he is me doesn't help as well.
Yes, we too know Santo and Alek and of course now yourself. We also know that Johanson is a construct of Elmgreen and Dragset. Let me reassure you that whenever this subject has come up it has always been in jest, a playful speculation on the possibility of constructing an art work of this nature. Certainly within the conversations we've had anyway. A case of the art world jungle drums working overtime perhaps! We can see how this could become annoying though but don't believe there to be any malice intended...
No problem. It doesn't help matters when I've curated a show that took place on the Trans Siberian train, a show involving fake artists by real artists dubbed as a show of real artists who had gone missing or dropped out the art world (one of being Johansen), and not whoring myself out to every opening in London under the sun, etc.