Nº6092: a conjectural catalogue
«In Stankievech’s project for the National Gallery, Augustus and Cleopatra [no6092] is presented recto verso with its x-rayed forensic examination, and as the work of an unknown Italian artist. Using the exhibition form itself as a camouflage—it appears like a conventional period room—Stankievech’s site-specific project implicates the gallery’s own history, and the value structures of art, in a knotted mise-en-scene of art history and dissimulation. Once a part of the canon of Poussin, which Sir Anthony Blunt had been instrumental in creating, the painting exemplifies the dramaturgy of value and deception. Even its iconography, with Cleopatra exchanging a pouch of letters, the painting subtly intertwines with the story of Blunt’s own intelligence mission. A part of Stankievech’s ongoing interrogation of the construction of the visible, this exhibition lands us in the complex territories of art, with art historians as wagers of authenticity, and wavers of mystic wands, in the imbrication of knowledge, narratives of value, and the museum.... Charles Stankievech’s projects sustain us in a state of alert suspension in a dense web of appearances and deception; and through the craft of exhibition, situate knowledge as constant recalibration between forensics and fiction, affect and representation.»
~ Barbara Fischer, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Art Museum at the University of Toronto in the Sobey Art Award catalog.
Accompanying the exhibition, Nº6092: a conjectural catalogue traces the fifty works in the project: from paintings by Gustav Courbet, Henry Moore, and Nicolas Poussin to PowerPoint presentations for luxury Freeports; from the United Nations Convention on diplomatic pouches to the key to Wittgenstein's House; from molotov cocktails to mugshots; from seventeenth century archival material to encrypted digital artworks. Stephen Gritt, Director of Conservation and Technical Research at the National Gallery, and Christopher Etheridge, Curator of European Art, contributed an original text to the publication analyzing painting no6092. The 2nd edition of the catalog includes a bibliography of the research.