press release

The Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève is proud to present Ethnic Marketing - an international group exhibition.

Many of the works have been commissioned for this occasion. The exhibition will further present a film and video programme based on the same theme. The project, curated by Martine Anderfuhren and Tirdad Zolghadr, could be described as a study of ‘xenophilia’, the love of the other. The exhibition uses the international art market as a point of reference, and its scenography will emulate that of a commercial fair. Modular booths will serve as a series of carefully orchestrated platforms for the works, which will include video, sculpture, installation, text and painting.

Ethnic Marketing explores the ways in which the Western world consumes foreign cultures, and how this consumption is deeply embedded in a various traditions of exoticism regarding the ‘other’. Furthermore, the exhibition hopes to reveal the strategies by which non-western artists have reacted to the West as it influences or actively defines contemporary art production the world over. It presents the Western world not simply as an observer of cultural movements, but as an active consumer thereof.

In the strict sense of the term, Ethnic Marketing practices are advertising strategies that target ethnic minorities (AfroAmericans, Latinos, Sino-Americans, etc). However, in a larger sense, it helps us reconsider the ways in which cultural exchange is linked to the art market and the question of supply and demand. This exhibition project argues that the processes of globalisation, leading to the internationalisation of the art market cannot be perceived as a simple, straightforward form of dialogue or multiculturalism but, rather, as a set of relations revolving around power, packaging, geopolitics and career strategies.

Because this exhibition examines ethnic marketing practices in Europe, it turns the usual set of practices on its head. Here, the ethnic target is not a Southern or Eastern populace, but the West itself. How does Western ‘xenophilia’ work? How does a Euro-American market function? And how does it structure its preferences?

The exhibition at the Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève will present over 30 Swiss and international artists, some of whom are fictional characters, their identities constructed specifically for this occasion. The audience will so become suspicious of the "authenticity" of all the artistic production on display. The hope of the artists and curators involved in this project is to undermine conventional ideas regarding the role of biography and cultural identity in contemporary art.

The project includes new commissioned works, an archive, 5 workshops with students from the Haute école d’arts appliqués of Geneva, and a film and video programme.


Ethnic Marketing
Événement-exposition, films, performances, conférences et projets spéciaux. Projet proposé par
Kuratoren: Martine Anderfuhren, Tirdad Zolghadr

mit Kamal Aljafari, Leyla Al Mutanakker, Fikret Atay, The Atlas Group, Ursula Biemann, David Blandy, com & com, Alex Gerbaulet, Jens Haaning, Dirk Herzog, Claude Hohl, Wong Hoy Cheong, Gülsün Karamustafa, Bilal Khbeiz, Daniela Kostova, Erik van Lieshout, Maki Thai Group, Farhad Moshiri & Shirine Aliabadi, Erkan Özgen & Sener Özmen, Lisl Ponger, Natascha Sadr-Haghighian, Mike Salomon, Solmaz Shahbazi, Group Shahrzad, Michael Snow, Space Campaign, Hito Steyerl, Peter Stoffel

ETHNIC MARKETING IN BRIEF, a soirée of concise explanations
21.10. 19:30; Konferenz mit Gülsün Karamustafa, Natascha Sadr-Haghighian, Chris Niemeyer, Susanne von Lederbur