Jan Svenungsson

Germany (residence) °1961

Swedish nationality, lives in Berlin and Vienna.


Visual artist, sometime writer, professor at the University for Applied Arts Vienna.




research expositions

  • open exposition comments (0)


Exposition: 10 Diary Entries [2010-12] (01/01/2013) by Simon Granell
Jan Svenungsson 18/06/2013 at 23:08

Below is a shortened and very slightly edited version of my initial comment on Simon Granell’s project. I have now had the opportunity to look at the project again, in its reworked form. The main difference is that the original brief introductory text has been replaced with a longer and more wide-ranging text. I rather enjoy reading this text and find it informative and interesting. It makes me want to see Granell’s paintings (of which I have no knowledge at all). Regarding my original task of assessing whether Granells project “10 Diary Entries (2010-12)” fulfill criteria to make it a worthwhile project of Artistic Research, I stand by my initial response, outlined below.


In my opinion, if Artistic Research is going to make any sense over time as an intellectual discipline and as a companion and dialogue partner to “free” art making, then one has to fight the tendency to make it into a meaningless free-for-all synonym for – art making.



In my opinion the submitted project does not fulfill criteria necessary to make it acceptable as a project of research. Any workable definition of “research” must include an ambition to produce some form of “new knowledge” which can be of use for others. New knowledge which can be shared.


“Ten Diary Entries1 [2010 - 2012]“ does not contain or produce any form of knowledge beyond the rather banal assertion that words are indeed not unique to one piece of text, but will reappear in other texts. This knowledge cannot be termed new.


In contrast to a project of research, or Artistic Research, a project of art production can make use of a deliberately dead-pan or even “dumb” attitude in order to achieve an effect on the viewer. It can even be a very effective strategy. In my own artistic work, I often use such methods. The great difference is, that a project of art production does not come with a responsibility to contain, in itself, some form of “new knowledge”. It can – indeed should – act as a provocation or a stimulant for the viewer to take care of this process him/herself.


To me, Simon Granell’s “Ten Diary Entries [2010 - 2012]” is a typical example of art production, and should be judged as such. It has an obvious aesthetic and conceptual value, which I enjoy. It makes you think, which is what art should do. However, I have been asked to judge its merit as a project of research, which means looking at the quality of (new) thinking which is proposed within the work – and that’s were we go wrong.


I do not accept the view that a project of art production and a project of artistic research are necessarily interchangeable. One project can indeed be relevant to both categories, but there is no guarantee for this.


If there is no correspondence between so-called Artistic Research and regular academic criteria for the conduct of research, then consequently there is no distinction between “traditional” forms of art-making and art-making going under the name of Artistic Research. The procedure is just one more of contemporary art’s myriad forms of ready-made practices and fictional word games. In “traditional” forms of art-making (i.e. all art making which doesn’t claim to be Artistic Research) there already exist a huge number of research related strategies, applied at the whim of the artist and not in order to confirm to pseudo-academic peer-review processes.


To me, Simon Granell’s project is one of art production. I have not been asked to assess it’s artistic qualities.
The project does not fit into any reasonable, self-aware definition of “Artistic Research” that I can agree with, for lack of ambition to produce new, shareable, knowledge.