Experimenting with the form and register of contemporary art writing, With A Bao A Qu Reading When Attitudes Become Form reconfigures the seminal artist’s book / catalog When Attitudes Become Form (1969). Originally edited by Harald Szeemann to accompany the Kunsthalle Bern exhibition of the same name, When Attitudes Become Form brought together new tendencies in the art of its time, including arte povera, conceptual art, and post-Minimalism, to conceive curatorial practice as a linguistic medium.
Working with Szeemann’s artist’s book/catalog as case study, With A Bao A Qu reflects on the form and structure of the artist’s book. By stylistically adopting a subjective literary voice, drawn, at least partially, from Jorge Luis Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings (published in English in 1969), the book counterintuitively shifts focus away from the reading of art’s conceptual properties to that of its physical, material embodiment.
An entertaining and thought provoking addition to the reexamination of one of art history’s most mythologized exhibitions that demonstrates how language is attitude and how words are form. — Jens Hoffmann