Sunday, April 29, 2007

between two deaths & between two deaths: the festival until 19.08 ZKM, Karlsruhe

From May 12 to August 19, 2007 ZKM | Karlsruhe will present an exhitibion curated by Ellen Blumenstein and Felix Ensslin. It will show a critical artistic reflection on the political, social, and cultural trend toward melancholic retrospection. The effects can be felt everywhere: in the expressions of conservative nostalgia, as well as in the social moods of stagnation, depression and anxiety. Boundless pessismism on the one side, state-ordered or self-help optimism on the other seem to be the general call.

In this situation contemporary art is thus read often as an enigmatic answer to a life that is always already traumatic or -with relief- there is talk of the "return of the romantic" understood as sentimentality and avoidance of politics. The positions gathered in "zwischen zwei toden / between two deaths" counter this interpretation by showing the current "melancholic" state of subjectivity as a figure that can be fragmented, crossed and passed through.

"zwischen zwei toden / between two deaths" shows positions that do not get stuck in the situation of the "exhausted self" (Ehrenberg) or with the "new maladies of the soul" (Kristeva). Each work interrogates the starting point of anxiety and stagnation, thus not denying the diagnosis. But beyond this, the artists reach with and through their work the zone "zwischen zwei toden / between two deaths" from where to critique the present and ask the question: What comes after? If people today find themselves in this zone, then art assembled here shows that in this "land of zombies" there lies an "emancipatory potential" (?i?ek).

Participating artists: Rita Ackermann, Ulf Aminde, Sue de Beer, Walead Beshty, Martin Dammann, Harry Dodge & Stanya Kahn, Brock Enright, Barnaby Furnas, Luis Gispert & Jeffrey Reed, Nan Goldin, Dan Graham, Nicolás Guagnini, Elín Hansdóttir, Jutta Koether, Terence Koh, Erik van Lieshout, Ján Mančuška, Marlene McCarty, John Miller, Chloe Piene, Adam Putnam, Stephen G. Rhodes, Kirstine Roepstorff, Aïda Ruilova, Florian Slotawa, Javier Téllez, Mark Titchner, Ryan Trecartin, Jennifer West, Charlie White

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wind from the East until 27.05 Kiasma, Helsinki

For Kiasma’s Wind from the East exhibition, we have chosen contemporary artists who weave old and new, East and West, myths and reality and change and permanence into a rich web in which opposites interact. The exhibition does not propose an overview. Instead, it offers a considered and focused selection of impressive works of art by artists who deal with topical and relevant issues. Rapid changes and expanding economies are forcing Asians to adjust to new social and economic realities. But is our own understanding and knowledge of these distant places really any more pro- found than that garnered on holidays or the ephemeral stories of the mass media? The exhibition Wind from the East focuses on three Asian countries where change has been parti- cularly rapid: Indonesia, China and Thailand. Although they have different cultures, political cli- mates and religions, they all have strongly expanding economies and struggle with environmental and social problems, including human rights issues. Huge populations and mass migration to large cities pose challenges to environments and economies alike. New biennials, Contemporary Art museums and art centres emerge everywhere, also in Asian area, and the artists with the best international contacts and networking skills are most likely to succeed or win recognition in the art world. Native cultures and Western influences often clash. The collision between strong, vibrant traditions and rapid change may indeed seem like a threat, though it may just as well be an opportunity. The artists in the exhibition are Heri Dono, Eko Nugroho, Melati Suryodarmo and Entang Wiharso from Indonesia, Chen Zhen, Hu Yang and Yang Zhenzhong from China and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook from Thailand. Their works use the methods of Contemporary Art to deal with political issues, individuals at the mercy of the market economy, the parallelism of the spiritual and the material in the world, and the encounter between cultures.