A nail salon staged in an exhibition space is where the line between a gesture and a simulation becomes blurred. In a context where everything is considered to be artistic or performative, there is an implied obligation to read these gestures as part of a greater picture. This picture could be the portrait of an Eastern European woman providing service to a predominantly western, art-loving documenta audience. And what are the thousand words that replace this picture, really? I had no intention, other than to see what happens. I never even think about Eastern Europe when I’m there, but somehow in the west this becomes my soft power. Still, I’m not even sure that it’s right to use it – so I don’t, I just create situations that become allegories on their own. In the end, we, the documenta workers just paint each other’s nails and share stories. Some other people pass by and they join or they just watch.I suggest no subtexts here. A manicure is a small luxury, even iftypologically different, but in a wider context still close to otherforms of luxury. Art is a luxury as well. I’m not sure documentawas communicating this well enough, even with its obvious disregard for aesthetic trends, with its unsolicited expedition to Athens and the public debacle around excessive expenditure. The stories that were supposedly controversial were only adding to the show’s mission – art is a privilege. Being in a position to criticize it is a privilege as well. The thing about privilege is that it can be understood in many ways, often associated with vanity and ignorance.This becomes very real at a show that vastly concernsunderprivileged, sensitive groups. But this is not what privilegenecessarily means – to have privilege is also to be honored, toappreciate it. Getting your nails done and contemplating an art show are both OK. In the end, I allow myself the privilege to enjoy the gesture. When I organized the nail painting pop-up event withMembrane, I thought about the possible interpretations, but I never wanted to choose one. I thought about how nice it is to just sit and talk with people, touch their hands. (When you touch someone’s skin, you need to break the silence with words. And then you let the emotion build up behind the language that really means nothing).
Text in 'Dating the Chorus'https://issuu.com/datingthechorus/docs/dating_the_chorus_1 Manicure and Similar PrivilegesNatalija Paunic´