press release

Despite Conceptual Art’s disavowal of narrative and self-expression, a number of contemporary artists are mining autobiographical and biographical genres. Some artists have not hesitated to express deep feelings about the world, themselves and the artist’s role. Others have wrestled with questions of how to represent the self, sometimes trying to avoid clichés, at others deliberately appropriating them. Drawing inspiration from events in their own lives, and setting up situations that blur the division between art and life, several artists explore art’s potential for transformation and catharsis. ‘Auto Emotion’ includes works that carry an interest in the relationship between social conformism and autonomy, brain chemistry and emotion, automatic behavior and self determination, the fictional and the real.

Performance becomes self-portraiture in Official Welcome (2001) by Andrea Fraser, The Onion (1995) by Marina Abramovic, and during a hypnotized performance given by Matt Mullican. Canadian artist Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay represents the biographical in Live to Tell (2002) and Lyric (2004), where pop songs are represented as folklore both to tell his story, and to investigate notions of clichés as cultural truths. This element is taken into the therapist’s office for artist’s block experienced by Christian Jankowski in the pressure to make new work, or questioned as fictional elaborations of romantic partnerships by a master of disguises, Nikki S. Lee, exposing these states of perpetual flux within the varying personas. Adrian Paci’s Vajtojca (2002) shows the self in the cycle of birth and death, both as an Albanian, and as an artist, when he stages his own funeral and pays a professional mourner to weep for him.

This exhibition is a timely reflection on issues of the complexity of self-representation and deflection, within and outside the art institution as many of the artists in ‘Auto Emotion’ question the role of the artist in society.

only in german

AUTO EMOTION: Autobiography, emotion and self-fashioning
Kuratoren: Gregory Burke, Helena Reckitt

mit Marina Abramovic, Reza Afisina, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Sophie Calle, Andrea Fraser, Rodney Graham, Christian Jankowski, Yayoi Kusama, Nikki S. Lee, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Matt Mullican, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Adrian Paci, Johannes Wohnseifer