Date: 08.09.2016 — 25.09.2016
Hal Foster, one of the authors of important book Art after 1900, at the very end of the last chapter presents us little anecdote. French artist Pierre Huyghe here, in connection with the so-called boom of social turn, commented forms of contemporary art in the 2000s, often based on cooperation between artists and their use of utopian and near future contents. Foster outlines this exchange: “The question ‘, as mentioned by Huyghe’ is not so much what? ‘, Like whom’ the question of the recipient.” Foster quotes reaction of another persona of Contemporary Art: “Cooperation is the answer, ‘ said the nomadic’ curator Hans Ulrich Obrist dryly, ‘but what is the question?'”
Of course these quotes are slightly out of context of the entire text; for the incompetent viewer these sentences are even taken out of context around the “normal” life. This is not entirely true: if it was discussed about the phenomenon of cooperation together with the use of a reviving unfulfilled utopia retrofuturistic fifteen years ago, the events of past years, reaffirmed us that certain visions of the future are today really happening. It’s not exactly a bright future, but rather looking at the abandoned streets of Detroit, or blasting off ancient monuments by native Europeans in the name of religion, confirmed the grim cyberpunk vision of William Gibson.
Facing declining democracy and post-capitalism it is difficult for art to find a convenient form to express some hope for the future and remain vigilant to the right now happening presence (especially if the “big history” takes place on our screens). Is it also possible to manipulate and bend the language of the “Great Game” in art and be like autonomous component as a big cycle that you will always be beyond You as individuals? The two female authors work with strong static images with simple symbols, combine small personal rituals (without any esoterics) with abstracted political speeches of “great” statesmen. I do not want to build unnecessary genealogocal tree of similar approaches, but I would only mention that these tiny staged remind me in some ways the power of video works by Joan Jonas. Likewise, in its internal energy and approaches they have close to a completely different approaches of two artists Eija-Liisa Ahtila and Diana Thater, who are today unjustly neglected.
Being aware of the common destiny creates a sense of conspiracy – it never has been more appealing to be a looser. The absurdity of many situations that we see on the show is imbued with the contagious enthusiasm of the creative team. Cooperation remains and it appears that it might still be the answer – and in the broader sense – to our social and artistic situation. But for whom? For the people? I do not know. Perhaps the exhibition will find the right recipient.
Curator: Martin Prudil