TRUST ME: TELL ME A SECRET follows the format of a VIP art tour and takes place inside a major contemporary art fair. Performances are not announced or documented– “visitors astute enough to notice Álava’s presence are rewarded with the first hand experience of seeing the work changing,” (David Pierce, Surface Design, 2012). Instead, Álava handwrites the content of the conversations onto fragmented pieces of paper. These fragments are then integrated into impossible-to-read visual installation entitled Tell Me a Secret.
Since the 16th Century during Spectacle Fairs, or what later would be called Victorian Freak Shows, “the exhibit could not be seen before a show and therefore needed the showman to market their particular attractions to the curiosity seeking public. An essential part of the telling of the tale consisted of reasons to explain to the audience the history of the person they were going to see.” (The University of Sheffield, England.) Being aware of the different meanings given to the Carnivalesque Life by figures such as Mikheal Bakhtin, TRUST ME: TELL ME A SECRET poses the following questions: What is the definition and cultural significance of art fairs in 2012? Who goes to art fairs and why? What is said inside of an art fair and who is asked to explain what’s in them?
* Image: Trust Me, 2010 by Gema Alava. Photograph by Jason Schmidt.