Interview, 2005Roman Ondak
This quietly humorous act of appropriation is intimately connected with Ondak’s interest in transferring contexts and roles in order for the situation to be evaluated afresh. With this work, he has created a subtly similar world, in which the audience is led to seek meaning and understanding from something that is deliberately evasive. We are led to query the value of the normal conventions of an exhibition space: is such an interview necessary? What effect will it have on our understanding of the work?
Over his career, Ondak has continually drawn attention to patterns of behavior and rituals in an art institution. In Museum/Storage (1999), for instance, items taken from staff offices of various departments of a museum - such as a water cooler, installation materials and an oil painting - were divided into whether or not they related to the art owned by the museum directly, and accordingly placed inside or on top of a simple, table-like construction. In 2005 he made an installation for Tate Modern that presented the gallery’s famous Turbine Hall as a greatly scaled-down version that visitors could walk into, thus reversing the belittling experience of walking into the actual space. Presenting an unusual perspective on the physical and social spaces of a generic art museum, these works signify Ondak’s detached, almost anthropological approach to his art practice.