press release

Taking its title from Alberto Giacometti's surrealist sculptures, this building-wide exhibition explores themes of desire and repulsion, the familiar and the unfamiliar. In the wake of war, industrial revolution, economic collapse, and political unrest, the surrealists sought to renegotiate and challenge traditional relationships between sexuality, the subconscious and commodity culture. Under these conditions, they used the uncanny and the informe to subversive ends.

Almost a century later, artists are still struggling with economic crises, rapid technological advancement, and war. World-historical traumas might be more mediated today, but we continue to live in "interesting times." In recent decades, the animating principles of work, war, and daily life have shifted from the physical to the cerebral, from machines to information. As capitalist societies extend beyond traditional notions of labor, the definitions of, and divisions between the self, work, and product are blurred. How have developments in technology shifted our understanding of the body and sexuality? How do these current conditions affect our understanding of the informe or the uncanny? How does urbanization relate to our notions of selfhood and domestic space? These are the questions that the artists in this exhibition ask or address.

Two major threads run throughout the works—at times they are inseparable: how trauma, technology and capitalist culture inform representations of the body, and how current approaches to the object and materiality are embedded with contemporary ideas of the uncanny, informe, and desire. A central focus within the exhibition is on Georges Bataille's notion that destruction, not creation, is in fact the primary impetus for art-making. Indeed, many of the artists in the exhibition manipulate or debase materials and common objects. These aren't to be read as radical gestures, but rather as a reexamination of our understanding of how psychic and physical notions of the self are impacted and informed by what we encounter daily. And further, how a contemporary comprehension of the self impacts the objects, materials, and forms that surround us.

A Disagreeable Object was curated by SculptureCenter Curator Ruba Katrib, and is accompanied by a full color publication that is available in print and on our website.

A Disagreeable Object: Alisa Baremboym, Alexandra Bircken, Ian Cheng, Talia Chetrit, Martin Soto Climent, FOS, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Camille Henrot, Alicja Kwade, Charles Long, Sarah Lucas, Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Laura Riboli, Matthew Ronay, Pamela Rosenkranz, Michael E. Smith, Johannes VanDerBeek, Andro Wekua, Susanne M. Winterling, and Anicka Yi

only in german

A Disagreeable Object
Kurator: Ruba Katrib

Künstler: Alisa Baremboym, Alexandra Bircken, Ian Cheng, Talia Chetrit, Martin Soto Climent, FOS , Aneta Grzeszykowska, Camille Henrot, Alicja Kwade, Charles Long, Sarah Lucas, Ann Cathrin November Hoibo, Laura Riboli, Matthew Ronay, Pamela Rosenkranz, Michael E. Smith, Johannes Vanderbeek, Andro Wekua, Susanne Winterling, Anicka Yi