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Vito Acconci (B. 1940)
Vito Acconci (B. 1940)

Documentation: Transference Zone

Details
Vito Acconci (B. 1940)
Documentation: Transference Zone
signed, titled, inscribed and dated 'TRANSFERENCE ZONE (Sonnabend Gallery, New York; January 15-29 1972)._Vito Acconci' (lower right of the right element)
gelatin silver prints, ink, felt-tip pen and wax crayon on board, in three parts
each: 29 7/8 x 40in. (76 x 101.6 cm.)
Executed in 1972
Provenance
Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles.
Bill Kleiman, Santa Monica.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.

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Guillermo Cid
Guillermo Cid

Lot Essay

Vito Acconci's Transference Zone documents one of three linked performance installations that the artist presented for his seminal exhibition at the Sonnabend Gallery, New York in January 1972. A tripartite piece, the present work evocatively describes and illustrates the performance Transference Zone with the aid of photographs, drawings and notes. Executed when the Sonnabend Gallery had three exhibition spaces - two main galleries and a smaller transition room - Acconci conceived of three separate, site-specific pieces to be enacted at different times throughout the three-week run of the show: Seedbed, Transference Zone and Supply Room.
Performed in one of the main galleries, Acconci set up a waiting area with chairs and rugs at one end of the space and in the opposite corner he constructed a small room, coined an 'isolation chamber'. Adorning the walls of this chamber were photographs of important people to the artist, 'prime people', and some of their possessions. On the Tuesdays and Fridays that Acconci performed this piece, he locked himself in this chamber choosing images and objects related to one 'prime person'. If a viewer knocked on the door during this process, the artist would invite them in as though they were a 'prime person'. Describing his aim, Acconci said: 'my hope is that, if I've convinced myself thoroughly enough, the viewer might start to respond the way that the 'prime person' would have responded - the viewer might fall into my history, 'become' the prime person' (V. Acconci, quoted in G. Moure, Vito Acconci: Writings, Works, Projects, Barcelona 2001, p. 156). This exhibition has come to represent a pivotal moment in the artist's oeuvre, underlining the importance of a shared interaction with the viewer. The physical manifestation of the performance, as evidenced in the present work, reveals Acconci's ongoing preoccupation with the dialogue between the psychological and the social.
Writing about his objective for the performances as a whole, Acconci noted: 'since the three spaces are part of one gallery, one space can't help but be seen in relation to the other. In Room A (Seedbed), I'm under the floor, I'm part of the architecture of the room, whereas in Room C (Transference Zone), I'm inside a point, a booth in the corner, whereas in Room B (Supply Room), I'm there only so that I won't be there, only so that I can be taken away, only so that I can be kidnapped. All the rooms are stopping-off places (I'm not here all the time, I come here only at certain times during the length of the gallery show). Room A is the present (Seedbed; I can have a relation now, I can't even see you, there are no strings attached), whereas Room C is the past (Transference Zone: prime people in my life), whereas Room B is the future (Supply Room: Kathy's life without me)' (V. Acconci, quoted in correspondence from D. Ross, Albion Gallery, 21 July 2008).

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