National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens
EMST

POLITICS OF ART

13/10/2010 - 30/04/2011

ATHENS CONSERVATOIRE

Politics of Art

Athens Conservatoire

13/10/2010 – 30/04/2011

Curated By: Anna Kafetsi

The aim of the exhibition, passing from the politics of the collection to the politics of art, is to investigate, through different fields, the ways and strategies of the presented works, which explicitly or implicitly refer to political, financial and social issues and events, the political potential of contemporary art, its invention as a new way of speaking about what the politicians and scholars are addressing, its possibility to function as a pivot of critical and alternative political thinking. The political uses of public space, the states and experiences of oppression, the violent socio-political conflicts, the violation of human rights and discrimination, the financial globalization, the reconstruction of collective memory and the reestablishment of a collective social space are some of the issues investigated in a critical light by the works in the exhibition, opening a dialogue with the society and everyday life, seeking alternative policies for collective action and artistic activism and a new interactive relationship between the artist and the community, both local and global.

Anna Kafetsi

MORE

A necessary condition for a dynamic museum of contemporary art is the constant negotiation of its contemporaneity. Its self-evident aesthetic and moral commitment towards what is produced in the present time or what conceives and expresses in an original way the “presentness” of our times is not enough. In order to coexist with the contemporary world and maintain the living relationship of the viewers with its collection, it has to continuously revise its outlook on the present through constant shifts and translational processes of borders, works, meanings and relationships. The notion of the contemporary as a transitional time allows not only the reconstruction of the past in the present, as this appears in the here and now, but also, and most importantly, the showcasing of the relational value of the works in the collection with the establishment of new artistic and socio-political affiliations in the museological realm. The past is displayed both next to the present and to what is constructed and interpreted as present through the exhibitional and curatorial act, incorporating the different in the same time. Different works, artists, periods and geographies become contemporary by being one next to another, coexist not in comparison but in collaboration, establishing endless relationships and bonds, not necessarily predictable or deliberated by the history of the collection.

The exhibition Politics of Art has as its starting point this dominant today museological principle. The collection of the museum is treated not as an inert, unequivocal reservoir of works but as a living, constantly shifting field of new artistic relationships. Through critical reflection and its deconstructive revisions is established an extended, international and intercultural understanding of the contemporary, without any dividing lines and untransferable borders, which favours the coexistence of the present with the past and future of our era, allows new interpretations and unlimited narratives, as well as a dialectical relationship between the contemporary artistic production and the entirety of the global culture, beyond any national, geographical or ethnic limitations.

There are included works from the collection of the Museum, by forty artists that come from metropolitan centres and the emerging peripheries of the Western and non-Western countries. Installations, photographs, drawings, paintings, video-installations and internet works, the majority of which belongs to the last decade, converse in pairs or in groups, are juxtaposed, share common places and attributes with earlier works from the 70s and 80s, through an open translational process that abolishes the previous entrenched classifications and hierarchies. Their dialectical relationship and the new exhibitional context open up platforms in the extensive today discussion, with an inter-local and global perspective, on the relationship between aesthetics and politics, or what we could describe as politics of art.

The aim of the exhibition, passing from the politics of the collection to the politics of art, is to investigate, through different fields, the ways and strategies of the presented works, which explicitly or implicitly refer to political, financial and social issues and events, the political potential of contemporary art, its invention as a new way of speaking about what the politicians and scholars are addressing, its possibility to function as a pivot of critical and alternative political thinking. The political uses of public space, the states and experiences of oppression, the violent socio-political conflicts, the violation of human rights and discrimination, the financial globalization, the reconstruction of collective memory and the reestablishment of a collective social space are some of the issues investigated in a critical light by the works in the exhibition, opening a dialogue with the society and everyday life, seeking alternative policies for collective action and artistic activism and a new interactive relationship between the artist and the community, both local and global.

“Don’t look – project your visions”, urges the viewers the sculptor Theodoros at the start of the exhibition, in his five-panelled work Anti-Spectaculars (1974), which could indicate an ideal passage from the political body of last year’s Heart in Heart and the transpositions of the secret, intimate personal activism to new public political topographies and artistic forms of activism, traced by the present exhibition.

Anna Kafetsi

CATALOG

Editor: Anna Kafetsi
Introduction: Anna Kafetsi
Commentary on the works: Andrea Bowers, Koken Ergun, Daphne Dragona, Memos Filippidis, Ivan Grubanov,Anna Kafetsi, As’ad Abu Khalil, Carlos Motta, George Osodi, Tina Pandi, Philippe Pirotte, Walid Ra’ad and The Atlas Group, Oliver Ressler, Stamatis Schizakis, Kleanthi-Christina Valkaka, Daphne Vitali, Vangelis Vlahos
Hardcover, 192 pages, 22 x  17 cm, Athens 2010
Bilingual (Greek / English)
With texts and reproductions of works
ΙSBN: 978-960-8349-52-0
Αvailable for sale: price 25 euro

 

Editor: Marina Tsekou
Leaflets: 15×21 cm, Athens 2009
ISBN: 978-960-8349-54-4
Available for download at Education/Leaflets

 

Editor: Cleanthi – Christina Valkana
Leaflet, 29 Χ 21 cm, Athens 2010
Pages: 20
ISBN 978-960-8349-55-1
Available for sale: price 3 euro

 

Photo: Carlos Motta, Graffiti Cuts: Who Owns the Street, 2007-2009
Εγκατάσταση

EL / EN