Active Ingredient brings together 22 artists working across a variety of media and disciplines to explore art’s tendency towards transformation, be it material, perceptual, or institutional. Taken from the language and practices of modern pharmacology, in which natural substances are decomposed to isolate useful properties that are then labeled and regulated once synthesized and mass-produced, Active Ingredient tests the conditions of artistic performativity, what it is that makes the work work. Insisting that spatial and institutional arrangements are at the heart of artistic meaning, artist and curator Alex Fleming takes his cue from Adrian Piper’s concept of catalysis, the insight that the artwork should necessitate a change in its environment. With this exhibition, the works on display are themselves rendered open to change, be it through adjacency with kindred artistic voices, through their transplantation into new contexts, or through the visitor’s own activation.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of presentations, performances, and readings will feature Felix Bernstein, Andrew Lampert, Tamio Shiraishi, and Natasha Stagg. An accompanying exhibition pamphlet with a collection of texts and other artworks by Hannah Black, Antonio Diaz, Rob Kulisek, and Soma Wingelaar is available here.