Billy Apple®: The Artist Has to Live like Everybody Else 1961 – 2018
Finissage event RGB in conversation with Misal Adnan Yıldız
1 November 2018
4:30-5:30 pm (No cameras allowed)
Responding to his long term conversations with Billy Apple®, Berlin based curator Misal Adnan Yıldız proposes his body and bodily endurance as a mental space to revise the links between inspiration, imagination and human capacity. As a continuation of his collection of tattoos, mostly derived from his biography, personal memory, and his relationship with the preservation of personalised images, Yıldız will receive a tattoo, an image from Apple; RGB  on the 31st of October 2018. Their agreement on its location, technique and afterlife would also operate as a fundamental base for Apple’s contributions to the publication of Mutterzunge project Yıldız has been running in Berlin since last year. Earlier this year in spring, Yıldız presented Apple’s work Basic Needs (2014-2018) at Apartment Project in Berlin as an outdoor installation in the four languages mostly spoken in the area.
RGB can be read in a multiplicity of ways as a pop conceptual work. The typographical composition is a classic example of making ‘type talk’. As well as signifying their relationship as curator and artist, the UV impregnated ink process used to generate the canvases in the exhibition parallels the inking up techniques of tattooing. Apple has always explored and adopted contemporary technologies, testing production and meaning in art.
And like Yıldız offering up his body as a site for art interventions, Apple has a long history of claiming art life activities, private works where his bodily functions and everyday needs are documented from the 1960s through to the present. His contemporary biomedical collaborations include projects like the Immortalisation of Billy Apple®, 2009 which saw Apple's somatic or body cells virally transformed, that is ‘immortalised’ to become Billy Apple® Cell Line at the University of Auckland on 4 September 2009 for which Apple has granted unrestricted use for research purposes. Given the correct environmental conditions, Apple’s cell line is able to live outside his body in perpetuity – so described by Yildiz as a ‘living sculpture/living artwork’.
RGB also refers to the red green blue primary colours of light able to be perceived by the human eye, which is based on human perception. Even though the RGB model has been used for reproducing the range of colours before the electronic age, it is still the only solid measurement, dimension and prosody between various codes, systems and devices. From television screen to digital cameras; photographic image to film making and printing; or electronic devices and visual systems, RGB is used to form colours that maximize the difference between the responses of the retinal cone cells to different light waves in our human eye. Since different devices detect different RGB values to the individual R, G, and B levels varying from one manufacturer to another, or even in the same device over time, RGB values do not define the same colours across devices.
 As a metaphor, RGB is also a fundamental point of reference for the collaborations between Apple and Yıldız. Artspace NZ in Auckland went through significant architectural changes to the gallery and surrounding spaces, extending the public’s experience of contemporary art into new avenues of research, engagement and audience development during Yıldız’s tenure as the director (2015-2017). The project was sparked during the first exhibition of Yıldız’s programme, On the moment of change, there is always a new threshold of imagination, (December 2014 – February 2015) which explored potential changes to the institutional framework. The design process departed from a conversation with artist, Billy Apple® and the introduction of his work, Red Wall for Artspace in March 2015. In collaboration with Auckland based architecture office, Bureux and Kimberly Read, the site-specific work focused on the peripheral spaces to the gallery that had over the years, accumulated several informal additions and add-ons. Read stripped back walls on the west side of the building to create office space and new flexible exhibition and research areas. Visitors to Artspace are now presented with two front doors; the gallery on the left, leading visitors to edited decisions, filtered and rendered by artists; and on the right combined education and library facilities Learning, Unlearning, Relearning, welcoming them into the on-going research and operations side of Artspace. Apple’s Green Wall, 2016 at the rear operated as a public domain for extending exhibition space into the car parking area whereas Blue Wall, 2017 was a way of welcoming diverse audiences at the entrance.