October 15, 2009


Of the dozen or so art blogs I know of, Vvork is the one I most frequently recommend and regularly visit. It has become a familiar resource, a routine stop for informal research. Vvork is curated/edited by a team of four (spread across three cities) who “think of the site as an exhibition space…updated daily.” It mimics a physical  exhibition venue in that it collects and displays artworks accompanied only by title, year, artist (like labels in a gallery) and a link to related websites for additional/interpretive text about the artist. It’s different from a gallery exhibition in that there is no fixed ending or spatial limits, only a series of beginnings with entries that stretch back into time. “A logical consequence of this claim [that Vvork is an exhibition space rather than a blog] is that the artworks shown are not reproductions but legitimate experiences.” (see Malraux’s Museum Without Walls via Crimp)

As a viewer/user of the website, the experience of Vvork is closer to a train of thought; one image leads to the next in an associative flow. An artwork appears and then another two, five or ten echo the content or subject of those preceding. These chains of affinity appear as small bursts of continuity in the otherwise disparate sequencing. The train jumps tracks without warning. Sometimes the similarities run close and create a tension, implying the works are subject to comparison and judgement as a result of their proximity. And while Vvork doesn’t tend to select more than one work by any artist at a time, it does pick favorites; references to Trevor Paglen’s work have appeared three times in recent months, and Claude Closky almost a dozen. But rather than finding fault in these subjective leanings, I see these idiosyncrasies as the best features of a living archive. It’s imperfect, personal, organic.


Vvork is an impressive media resource; a trove of 3,500+ artworks culled from the deepest recesses of the web. Not unlike writers who work-out ideas in blog form and later get a book deal, as a result of their accumulation Vvork has been invited to contribute curatorial programming and editorial content to exhibitions and magazines. The most recent of these Projects is Totale Erinnerung (Total Memory) for a Fotofestival in Germany where Vvork is presenting an exhibition as 3D blog. A labyrinth that appears to follows the associative logic mentioned above, yet works directly with artists rather than culling images from the web.

Since April of 2006 Vvork has been compiling their “carefully curated collection of contemporary art.” A collection being just another inadequate metaphor. Seen through the various “view” logics, Vvork might be a web magazine, an exhibition space, a collection, a living archive. All apply, none are quite right. In our recent exchange they hinted, “in the coming weeks another curatorial tool will be made public,” another way of viewing and sorting the incredible accumulation. Without a doubt the media rich contents of the site’s database hold great potential, perhaps moving us toward a new and as yet uncharted terrain, one that combines the spontaneity of browsing shelves of a physical library  with the instant access and searchability of a database.

Vvork is: Georg Schnitzer, Aleksandra Domanovic, Christoph Priglinger and Oliver Laric. All quotes thanks to Vvork.

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