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2010-12-08 // // Arts // LISSITZKY DISTRIBUTION by KIM DE GROOT

On October 21st we had a very interesting lecture by Kim De Groot at Van Abbe museum in Eindhoven within the framework of the Source Programme.

The museum is a producer of cultural identity, mirroring socio-political changes with its collection policy.
Designer and researcher Kim de Groot investigates the manner in which museums consciously use their stock of art as brand icons. Opening up new possibilities of representation, De Groot offers alternative merchandise for sale to the self-conscious visitor.

'Lissitzky Distribution' is about the image economy of the museum shop as a distributor of the museum's identity.
Kim De Groot deals with the border between the autonomy and instrumentality of art. As soon as art turns into merchandise and transforms into a button or an image in a catalog or postcard, it opens up possibilities of use. Buying a catalog in the shop is a moment of appropriation, art turns into an approachable object.
By proposing the museum shop as a model for the museum, in which derivative but autonomous images can be produced, De Groot tries to move beyond the fear of the copy. To illustrate this she has redesigned a museum shop classic; the postcard. The cards are an add-on to the existing Lissitzky merchandise of the Van Abbe museum. They do not only extend the concept of merchandising but also stress the value of Lissitzky as the brand of the Van Abbe museum.

By selling the cards as 'new' original fragments of the artwork, they gain social as well as economical value. The painting multiplies through its representation of 12 different cards instead of one. The role of the public is crucial in this image economy; by buying one out of the 12 cards the public chooses her favorite image. This way the cards serve as statistics, the public's ranking of the artwork delivers valuable information for the further branding of the Van Abbe museum.