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25 March 2005 until 20 November 2005
Eylem Aladogan
  Badischer Kunstverein

Badischer Kunstverein
Waldstr. 3
76133 Karlsruhe
Germany (city map)

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tel +49-(0)721 - 28 226

CRITICAL SOCIETIES Art, Criticism and the Promises of Capitalism

I.Sources of Indignation

Marlene McCarty, Heather and Patrick Burnett-Rose, Lukas Einsele, Florian Hecker, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Jeroen de Rijke / Willem de Rooij, Eylem Aladogan, Annika Larsson, Runa Islam, Stephen Willats

Opening: Thursday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Indignation is an impulsive emotion on the basis of concepts of values. Indignation is provoked when limits are violated ­ limits of subjective integrity or boundaries within the moral code of a society. Today outrageous "reality" is situated in the media and can be summoned up with short-term effects around the clock. What is more, indignation is provoked and produced in order to be transferred into the picture as pure spectacle. The entire world is open to the image-producing apparatus. Capitalism generates the visual codes of the public media as an "anti-narrative centrifuge" (Christoph Hochhäusler, in the exhibition catalogue Stories, Munich 2002). Can indignation be transferred in any way at all onto its intended recipients? Is art still capable of conveying a sense of outrage by presenting special visual worlds in a special context?


From March 25 to November 20 of this year, the exhibition program of the Badischer Kunstverein takes place under the title "Critical Societies." In a succession of four exhibition chapters, which flow from one to the next with no interruptions for the purpose of being dismantled or mounted, there will be a presentation of works by more than thirty-five international artists, including some artworks which have been specially developed and realized for this exhibition project. The point of departure for all contributions is the issue of whether and in what ways current art production today (still) aesthetically comprehends and reflects tests and trials that are crucial for the future of a "critical" society.

The capitalist society in which we live is fundamentally a "critical society": in principle, all protagonists have at their disposal various possibilities of critical articulation. Criticism is one of the "most effective motors of capitalism" ­ this is the thesis of the sociologists Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello in their much-discussed book Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus ("The New Spirit of Capitalism," Constance 2003, Paris 1999). They state that critical involvement identifies and brings up to date the most basic testing situations of a society in furtherance of its ongoing dynamic development. If criticism is an essential characteristic of our social organization and participation, does this then serve as justification for one's being engaged in support of capitalism?

Two key concepts of the social criticism of the twentieth century were demands for security and justice. On the other hand, criticism from an artistic perspective made a claim for such values as autonomy and authenticity. Right into the 1970s, social criticism ­ including that aspect which articulated itself in an artistic manner ­ conceived of itself as identifying contradictions and articulating demands. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, one cannot claim that the world has become more secure or more just.

What does capitalism promise today? What motivates individuals to critical participation in communities? What must be the characteristics evinced by a way of life so that a large number of protagonists deem it to be worth their while to pursue?

Creativity, flexibility, individuality and mobility are the soft skills that are greatly in demand in a deregulated working world. Autonomy takes on the appearance of a paraphrasing of unstable designs for living, and authenticity is degraded into a marketing strategy. Under these circumstances, can an emancipatory potential be attributed to criticism, regardless of whether it is articulated in social or artistic terms?

The exhibition cycle "Critical Societies" is oriented with regard to four "headlines":

Sources of Indignation
Boundless Sociability
Economies : Resistances
Resources ­ Politics of Belief

In each of these chapters, individual works from the 1970s (keyword: "artists' criticism") are brought into an encounter with current artistic productions. The contentual correspondence of the four chapters makes it possible to put into practice and to make visible the medium "exhibition" as a temporary and relative project: the works replace each other successively, so that no periods of closure for the dismantling or mounting of exhibition blocks are anticipated. The exhibition situations are evaluated and accompanied by lectures, discussions and film programs. Both textual and visual contributions from "Critical Societies" will subsequently be published in a reader.

You will receive a separate invitation for the opening events of each of the four chapters.

The exhibition project "Critical Societies" is supported by the Federal Cultural Foundation.

Participating Artists:

Heather and Patrick Burnett, Lozere (FR)
Carey Young, London
Simon Wachsmuth, Berlin
Jens Haaning, Copenhagen / Berlin
Hans Haacke, New York
Hans-Peter Feldmann, Düsseldorf
Carol Bove, New York
Marlene McCarty, New York
Fikret Atay, Batman / Paris
Oliver Ressler, Wien
Eva Keil, Marseille
Aydan Murtezaoglu, Bülent Sangar, Istanbul
Runa Islam, London
Lukas Einsele, Darmstadt
Kai Schiemenz, Berlin
Allan Sekula, Los Angeles
Kirstine Roepstorff, Copenhagen / Berlin
Lutz Fezer, Skafte Kuhn, Michael Stumpf, Karlsruhe
Indra, Basel
Stephen Willats, London
Florian Hecker, Wien
Park Chan Kyong, Seoul
Annika Larsson, New York
Eylem Aladogan, Amsterdam
L.A. Raeven, Amsterdam
Stephen Craig, Hamburg / Karlsruhe
Martha Rosler, New York
Ross Sinclair, Glasgow
Jeroen de Rijke/ Willem de Rooij, Amsterdam
John Baldessari, Los Angeles
Isa Melsheimer, Berlin
Thomas Killper, Berlin
Anthony Howard, New York
Dierk Schmidt, Berlin Matthieu Laurette, Paris
(e.) Twin Gabriel

Recent Publications

ROSS SINCLAIR If North was South ans East was West Hrsg. Badischer Kunstverein 2004, mit zahlreichen Abbildungen und Beiträgen (dt./engl.)von Charles Esche, Jan Verwoert und einem Interview mit Katrina M.Brown, 139 Farbabbildungen, 192 Seiten, EUR 35,-

ELKE WREE Hanna-Nagel-Preisträgerin 2004 Hrsg. Badischer Kunstverein in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Info Verlag Karlsruhe, mit Texten (dt.)von Dr. Ursula Merkel und Prof. Erika Rödiger-Diruf, 17 Farbabbildungen, 32 Seiten geheftet, EUR 6,-

SETAREH SHAHBAZI Oh, no, no... - The Crystal Series Hrsg. Badischer Kunstverein 2004, Katalo mit Texten von Simon Baier, 47 Farbabbildungen, 48 Seiten, ISBN 3-89309-107-6, EUR 12,-

JOELLE TUERLINCKX WILLEM OOREBEEK BILD, oder MIT DEM FUSS IN DER REALITÄT: ausstellungsmateriel #1 (j.t.w.o.) 380 Seiten, Text dt. / franz., in der Ausstellung 35 Euro, sonst 42 Euro.

SISTERS AND BROTHERS AND BIRDS Hrsg. Badischer Kunstverein 2004, Katalog mit Texten und Abbildungen von Nevin Aladag, Ümit Bilgi, Songül Boyraz, Banu Cennetoglu, Hatice Güleryüz, Fahrettin Örenli, Anny und Sibel Özturk, Asli Sungu, Evren Tekinoktay, Nasan Tur. Texte von Harald Fricke, Vasif Kortun, Reto Krüger, Andreas Spiegl, Angelika Stepken, Arief Sandjaya Wiranatakusumah, Katherina Zakravsky, 88 Seiten, ungebunden, dt./engl., EUR 15,00.

MOEBIUS : WELTEN, 72 Seiten, Farbabbildungen, Hardcover, 12 Euro in der Ausstellung, anschl. im Buchhandel 18 Euro.

KLOOSTERBOER, KLAAS. Shivering Emotions and Feverish Feelings Hrsg. Badischer Kunstverein und Mark Kremer 2003.Mit Essays (dt./engl.) von Mark Kremer und Frank Reijnders sowie ein Gespräch mit Klaas Kloosterboer und Angelika Stepken. Katalogdesign Mevis & Van Deursen, Amsterdam, 208 Seiten, mit farbigen Abbildungen, ISBN 3-89309-109-2, EUR 22,-

OBJECTS IN MIRROR, Ausst Kat., Hrsg. Badischer Kunstverein 2003, mit Texten (dt./engl.) von Jane Tynan, Rob Tufnell, Angelika Stepken.56 Seiten, mit farbigen Abbildungen, 13 x 14 cm, ISBN 3 - 89309 - 108 - 4,EUR 6,-

FREMDKÖRPER / TRANSPOSED BODIES Gusztáv Hámos & Katja Pratschke Hrsg. Badischer Kunstverein 2003 mit einem Essay von András Forgách und einem Vorwort von Angelika Stepken dt./engl., 256 Seiten mit 111 Abbildungen (Duplex und Farbe) Japanische Broschur, Leinenbezug, 15,5 x 20,5 cm,Vice Versa Verlag, ISBN 3 - 932809 - 33 - 5,EUR 16,-

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