‘Perhaps one of my favourite definitions of cultural production is of “making things public”: the process of connecting things, establishing relationships, which in many ways means befriending issues, people, contexts. Friendship in this sense is both a set-up for working and a dimension of production. The line of thought that threads through the following pages is thus that of friendship as a form of solidarity: friends in action.’ — Céline Condorelli in conversation with Nick Aikens, Avery F. Gordon, Johan Frederik Hartle and Polly Staple

Conversations weave through the work of Céline Condorelli, whether in the sculptural structures of her artwork, through the writing and discourse that is embedded in her work, or in the practice of support that frames her activities. Here, five conversations with friends explore working together, the politics of the company one chooses to keep, and friendship between both people and with ideas. Condorelli’s starting point is a conversation with philosopher Johan Frederik Hartle, raising questions of why the philosophical discourse on friendship is exclusively by, and only about, men? Following this, the three part conversation with sociologist Avery F. Gordon explores the possibilities opened up by this exclusion, lead by slaves, migrants, women and pirates, to what it means to make common cause and live ‘as if free to determine one’s own terms of living’.

The final conversation with Polly Staple and Nick Aikens, the curators of her exhibitions Céline Condorelli (Chisenhale Gallery, London) and Positions (Van Abbemuseum), addresses the practice of friendship and support embedded in Condorelli’s work as an artist and how exhibition making can be understood in relation to the question of how to work together. Running alongside each conversation is a series of images reproduced from The Company We Keep.

The Company She Keeps is co-published by Book Works, Chisenhale Gallery, London, and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, as part of our Co-Series, No. 7, in an edition of 1,000 copies, black and white with one colour, 20 images, 120pp, with a soft cover. Designed by An Endless Supply, 147 mm x 220 mm.

This publication accompanies the exhibitions Céline Condorelli at Chisenhale Gallery, London, and Positions at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2014 supported by Ammodo and Stichting Promotors Van Abbemuseum.

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