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‘do it’ Instruction
Nairy Baghramian
Artwork 2012
Installation photograph of Nairy Baghramian’s instructional artwork ‘do it’, from the Customs exhibition in A4’s Gallery, that shows a page with with black typeset text mounted on a white wall. The text reads: “87,” “BAGHRAMAIN, Nairy (2012)” and, “Following Gertrude Stein, every now and then sit with your back on nature.”
Artwork: Nairy Baghramian, ‘do it’ Instruction (2012). Card with printed text. Courtesy of the artist.
Artist Nairy Baghramian Title 'do it' Instruction Date 2012 Materials Card with printed text Credit Courtesy of the artist

do it started as a conversation in 1993 and first appeared as a book when its creator Hans Ulrich Obrist invited 12 artists to send him instructions. Also termed 'scores' by Obrist, these instructions can be interpreted and carried out by visitors to exhibitions of do it. Itinerant and flexible, these have been held globally and almost continuously since May 2013, when do it happened in Socrates Sculpture Park, New York. While repeated anywhere, carrying out a do it often performs as site- and audience-specific, generating new interpretations and readings in its context.

Nairy Baghramian’s do it (2012) instructs as follows:

Following Gertrude Stein, every now and then sit with your back on nature.

Nairy Baghramian’s sculptural forms are studies in movement and propositions for motion, defying their realities as permanent and structural. In Baghramian’s hands, solid matter appears putty-like, soft and yielding. Where this is suddenly juxtaposed with something sharp and steely, the forms evoke damage and attendant repair. Something of Baghramian’s method appears histological – objects as studies in the microscopic anatomy of biological tissue – but turned inside-out: organs, appendages; things supple, private, sensual, or rude. The art critic Evan Moffitt says, “Her sculptures often assume forms that we take for granted, yet upon which we lean… Baghramian’s supports may not always be structurally necessary, but their intimation of balance makes us consider the firmness of our own footing.”