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Group show: Spielräume (over)

5 June 2005 until 4 September 2005
Florian Slotawa, Museum Sprints, 2000/01
  Lehmbruck Museum

Lehmbruck Museum
Friedrich-Wilhelm-Straße 40
47049 Duisburg
Germany (city map)

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tel +49 (0)203 - 283 32 94

Free play

Cornelia Brüninghaus-Knubel

Press conference: Friday, June 3, 11.30 a.m.

Opening: Sunday, June 5, 11.30 a.m.

J. Huizinga: "Culture reveals its true character in play and as play."

In the post-industrial "leisure-time society of today, with its media and entertainment industry, fun and games would appear to have established themselves everywhere as a form of entertainment. Differentiating between play and the serious aspects of life no longer seems relevant: "All life is a game". Yet what is really behind this term, which, after all, "plays" a role in natural science and society as well as politics, economics, psychology and education? The arts in particular are closely associated with play, not just music, which is played and the theater, where actors play roles, but especially the fine arts, which in the 20th century experimented with various "forms of playing".

As early as the 1960s and '70s artistic trends such as Kinetic Art, Action Art, Fluxus and Happenings attempted to include traditionally passive spectators into the creative process. A broader view of sculpture, which Beuys and other artists represented, went hand in hand with the utopian dissolving of conditions of alienation in society. Art thereby adopted aspects that involved interaction and participation. Just like play, art would then avoid the compulsions of reality and, freed from the need to heed purpose and interests, release "creative" energy and reflect processes in society at a symbolic, playful level. The enlightenment argument of "disinterested pleasure", which Kant saw as the "most beautiful of all games" in art, just as much as that of what Schiller termed the "open play with beauty", which results in the aesthetic and ultimately moral education of mankind, remains central to any observation of play.

Fields such as art and artists inevitably have a bearing on children and education are affected, play and playfulness is to be can be found almost everywhere: in mathematics and chaos research, in biotechnology and philosophy - and of course in sport. Former opposite such as work and play, pleasure and insight seem to be no longer valid, without however getting rid of the components of play, namely rules, chance and strategy. Artistic work is in itself seen as play, as a playful way of approaching problems and, tantamount to creativity applied to and propagated in other areas of work. As such play, once the reserve of children only, is being extended to ever-wider areas of society. Yes, an addiction to play seems to have gripped society.

26 international contemporary artists show their works about role play, body play, parlour games and play sites. Some of them animate the visitor to take part playing:

• Sophie Calle, Christoph Draeger, Öyvind Fahlström, Belu-Simion Fainaru, Peter Friedl, Christian Hoischen, Martin Honert, Mike Kelley, Iris Kettner, Tracey Moffatt, Beverly Naidus, Paul Pfeiffer, Takako Saito, Georgina Starr, Mindaugas Tendziagolskis, Erwin Wurm.

• Videos and films by John Bock, Sun Tek Chung, Mark Formanek, Andrea Fraser, Christian Jankowski, Peter Land, Roman Signer, Florian Slotawa, Uri Tzaig, Susanne Weirich

From the museum´s collection all "playable" and "playful" works will be shown: J. Tinguely, M. Navarro, Th. Virnich, F.E. Walter and more.

A catalogue with articles and illustrations of all presented works will be published, approx. 5,- €.

The exhibition is being staged with the generous support of the North Rhine-Westphalia of Urban Construction, Living, Culture and Sport, the Duisburg casino (Westspiel) and the MSV Duisburg (soccer club).

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