Bazile: One Measure for All
Videodokumente einer Nachforschung
Wed, May 12, 2004 7 pm CEST, Opening
French artist Bernard Bazile has for some years been investigating one of the symbols of the radical avant-garde, the famous can of Artist's shit [Merda d'artista], by Italian artist Piero Manzoni. In 1961 Manzoni claimed to have filled 90 cans with 30 gram each of his own excrement and sold them for the price of 30 grams of gold at the current rate.

In the past 10 years, Bernhard Bazile carried out more than 80 interviews with the collectors and current owners of Manzoni’s work. The resulting 11 hours of document-reports provide a fascinating case study of the production and reception of this singular work, but also an exceptional enquiry into the differences between artistic values and economic values.

»One Measure for all« is Bazile first major solo show after the controversial exhibition »It’s OK to say no!« at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1993. The installation in the Project Space at ZKM comprises 4 projections of extensive interviews, drawing a subtle and individual portrait of the collectors. Each time, Bazile asks four questions:

1. Under what circumstances and at what price did you buy the can ?
2. What is the meaning you attach to it ?
3. What is the content of the can ?
4. Do you intend to part with it one day ?

The answers reveal the owners' initial relationship with Manzoni and the »merda d´artista«. Almost as a side effect, yet most interesting, the collectors explain their opinion about Piero Manzoni's motivation and the question whether the cans really contain excrements.

The exhibition was initiated by the IAC – Institut d’Art Contemporain Villeurbanne/Lyon, where it has been on view since 28 January until 18 April 2004 before it will be shown at the ZKM from 13 May until 8 August 2004.
Project team
Barbara Koenches (project management)
Organization / Institution
AFAA (Bureau des Arts Plastiques/Französische Botschaft)