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A superfiction is a visual or conceptual artwork which uses fiction and appropriation to mirror organizations, business structures, and/or the lives of invented individuals (Hill). The term was coined by Glasgow-born artist Peter Hill in 1989. Often superfictions are subversive cultural events in which the artwork can be said to escape from the picture frame or in which a narrative can be said to escape from the pages of the novel into three-dimensional reality. While this may involve a moment of deception regarding the origin, background and context of the presentation, or the veracity of claimed facts, deceit is only a method, intended to condition the observer's perception in a certain way, and it is not the ultimate goal of this artistic practice. Superfictions explore the interaction between the observer's concepts and the actual "objective" evidence that is presented; this is fundamentally analogous to e.g. arranging lines on a two-dimensional sheet to create a perspective illusion, even though the actual works of superfiction often are perceived to push the boundaries of what is considered to be "art".
In 1989 Peter Hill created his fictive Museum of Contemporary Ideas on New York's Park Avenue, complete with its billionaire benefactors, Alice and Abner "Bucky" Cameron who supposedly made their fortune from the Cameron Oil Fields in Alaska. Press releases were sent around the world to news agencies such as Reuters and Associated Press and a range of magazines, newspapers, museums, critics and specialist journals. The German Wolkenkratzer magazine believed the museum to be real and printed a story about it. As a result its editor, Dr Wolfgang Max Faust was asked to chair a meeting of German curators and industrialists to see if Frankfurt could build an even bigger multi-disciplinary museum than The Museum of Contemporary Ideas.
The characters within the Museum of Contemporary Ideas were later "turned" into another Superfiction called The Art Fair Murders and traces of both were exhibited in the 2002 Biennale of Sydney, (The World May Be) Fantastic, curated by Richard Grayson.
With its "Encyclopedia of Superfictions", Hill's Web site is something of an information hub on methodologically related artworks.
Probably the first curated exhibition of superfictions was "For Real Now" (De Achterstraat Fondation, Hoorn, Netherlands) in 1990 .
The practice of intentionally blurring the boundaries between fiction and fact has many precedents. Perhaps the best known of these is Orson Welles' adaptation of H. G. Wells' The War Of The Worlds which was broadcast in the style of a breaking-news report in October 1938, and led many to believe in an ongoing Martian invasion despite a broadcast disclaimer.
Another example are the "snouters" Nasobēm (or Rhinogradentia), an order of animals invented by the German poet Christian Morgenstern in 1905 and then introduced into scholarly publication by the (fictitious) naturalist Prof. Harald Stümpke (1957).
Artists employing superfictions as a focus or significant part of their practice include:
Fictitious or fake entries are deliberately incorrect entries in reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and directories, added by the editors as a copyright trap to reveal subsequent plagiarism or copyright infringement. There are more specific terms for particular kinds of fictitious entry, such as Mountweazel, trap street, paper town, phantom settlement, and nihilartikel.
The Walter Phillips Gallery (WPG) is a contemporary art gallery in Banff, Alberta. It was established in 1976 as a part of The Banff Centre in Banff National Park.
Iris Haeussler is a conceptual and installation art artist of German origin. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Many of Iris Haeussler's works are detailed, hyperrealistic installations that visitors can decode as narrative stories. Recurring topics in her work include historic, cultural, social and geographic origins; family ties, relationships, memory, history, trauma and obsession.
The conservation and restoration of new media art is the study and practice of techniques for sustaining new media art created using from materials such as digital, biological, performative, and other variable media.
Walid Raad (Ra'ad) is a contemporary media artist. The Atlas Group is a fictional collective, the work of which is produced by Walid Raad. He lives and works in New York, where he is currently a professor at the School of Art at the Cooper Union School of Art.
The Bruce High Quality Foundation is an arts collective in Brooklyn, New York City, the United States, which was "created to foster an alternative to everything." The collective is made up of five to eight rotating and anonymous members, most or all of whom are Cooper Union graduates. The group has attracted attention with the subversive, humorous and erudite style of their work and operates an unaccredited art school, the Bruce High Quality Foundation University.
Jeff Wassmann is an American artist, writer and theorist, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. His first novel, The Buzzard, was released in October 2012. Wassmann's art work incorporates assemblage, photography, web-based new media and aspects of culture jamming.
Johann Dieter Wassmann (1841–1898) is a fictitious artist and sewerage engineer, purportedly from Leipzig, Saxony, in east-central Germany. He is the creation of the American-born artist and writer Jeff Wassmann. As a result of the widespread dissemination of his work, Johann Dieter Wassmann is sometimes mistakenly cited as a lesser-known figure among late-19th-century European artists; he is most often identified as an early purveyor of the Dada and Surrealist movements and has become closely associated with several notable artists of the first half of the 20th century, including Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, Eugène Atget and Joseph Cornell.
Fictive art is a practice that involves the production of objects, events, and entities designed to support the plausibility of a central narrative. Fictive art projects disguise their fictional essence by incorporating materials that stand as evidence for narrative factuality and thus are designed to deceive the viewer as to their ontological status. Very often, these materials take a form that carries presumptive cultural authority, such as 'historical' photographs or 'scientific' data. The key tension in fictive art projects stems from the impossibility of 'making real' a fiction, no matter how many or what kinds of objects are produced as evidence. Since fictive art projects are designed to pass at least temporarily as 'real', fictive artists may draw opprobrium as hoaxers, pranksters, forgers, or con artists when their projects are revealed as fictional.
ART/MEDIA was a social sculpture project in the form of series of socio-political public art events that took place in 1986 in Albuquerque and Santa Fe New Mexico. This groundbreaking artist forum featured artworks presented to the public through the mass media in a series of artist-designed billboards, television, radio and print media, and in museum exhibitions, a lecture series, and performance art series. Through this extended format, the artwork and ideas of contemporary artists were made accessible to a large public audience outside of the traditional art audience.
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) is a contemporary art museum with four branches in Gwacheon, Deoksugung, Seoul and Cheongju. The museum was first established in 1969 as the only national art museum in the country accommodating modern and contemporary art of Korea and international art of different time periods.
The Wassmann Foundation, Washington, D.C, is an arts collective based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 2001, the collective has a rotating membership from a range of fields, including artists, writers, curators, musicians and film-makers. The foundation oversees the estate of the fictitious Leipzig modernist and sewerage engineer Johann Dieter Wassmann (1841–1898). More broadly, it uses its art practice to call into question the growing role of artist, curator and art institution alike, as interconnected and synergetic brands, while exploring the realigned power structures presented by the proliferation of the web.
Ecofeminist art emerged in the 1970s in response to ecofeminist philosophy, that was particularly articulated by writers such as Carolyn Merchant, Val Plumwood, Donna Haraway, Starhawk, Greta Gaard, Karen J. Warren, and Rebecca Solnit. Those writers emphasized the significance of relationships of cultural dominance and ethics expressed as sexism (Haraway), spirituality (Starhawk), speciesism, capitalist values that privilege objectification and the importance of vegetarianism in these contexts (Gaard). The main issues Ecofeminism aims to address revolve around the effects of a "Eurocentric capitalist patriarchal culture built on the domination of nature, and the domination of woman 'as nature'. The writer Luke Martell in the Ecology and Society journal writes that 'women' and 'nature' are both victims of patriarchal abuse and "ideological products of the Enlightenment culture of control." Ecofeminism argues that we must become a part of nature, living with and among it. We must recognize that nature is alive and breathing and work against the passivity surrounding it that is synonymous with the passive roles enforced upon women by patriarchal culture, politics, and capitalism.
Eve Andree Laramee is an installation artist whose works explores four primary themes: legacy of the atomic age, history of science, environment and ecology, social conditions. Her interdisciplinary artworks operate at the confluence of art and science. She is currently professor and chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Pace University. Laramee currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is also the founder and director of ART/MEDIA for a Nuclear Free Future.
Joseph Wagenbach is a fictitious character created by German-Canadian visual artist Iris Haeussler. The original idea was conceived in 1999 as "Haus des Künstlers" while the artist still lived in Europe. After her move to Canada, Haeussler began work on the actual production of the project, developing her character's biography and his psychological state of mind and then stepped into Wagenbach's shoes to create his oeuvre of over 100 sculptures and some few hundred sketches from the late period of his life. The house in which Wagenbach's work was installed was opened to the public for tours for several months in 2006, both before and after it was revealed Wagenbach was a fictional character.
Muzeum Sztuki, or the Museum of Art in Łódź, is a museum of modern and contemporary art in Łódź, Poland, whose main goal is to research and display avant-garde art, as well as progressive artistic interventions.
Naomi Andrée Campbell is a Canadian visual artist and current resident in the International Studio & Curatorial Program. She has been an instructor of contemporary body in watercolor at the Art Students League of New York since 2007.
John Parker Glick was an American ceramicist. Though open to artistic experimentation, Glick was most influenced by the styles and aesthetics of Asian pottery—an inspiration that shows in his use of decorative patterns and glaze choices. His experience working with ceramics led him to publish several articles about the craft. In addition to producing pottery, Glick began making "landscape oriented" wall panels during the latter part of his career. Known as "the people's potter," he is primarily remembered for his contributions to art and the field of ceramics.
Jane Hart is an American curator, gallerist and artist in New York City. She has worked as an art curator since 1993, having been a gallery owner in Los Angeles and Miami, and a contemporary art professional in Manhattan and London. As an artist she has exhibited internationally, with solo exhibitions in South Florida and Cleveland, Ohio. Her specialty is contemporary collage, with works in private collections in the United States and abroad.