The Showroom, London
63 Penfold Street
NW8 8PQ London
artists & participants
Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
September 20–November 11, 2017
Preview, performance of Work Files (Showroom) by Tim Etchells: September 19, 6:30–8:30pm Ashley Hans Scheirl, film screening and conversation with Oreet Ashery: September 20, 7–9pm Lutz Becker, film screening and conversation with Lina Džuverović: November 9, 7–9pm
A cooperation with the Kontakt Art Collection
After six exhibitions, taking place from November 2016 to May 2017 in independent art spaces, artists’ studios and private apartments in Zagreb, My Sweet Little Lamb (Everything we see could also be otherwise) is settling down at The Showroom, London, for the project’s poetic epilogue. Based on the Kontakt Art Collection, which includes seminal works by artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe from 1960s to the present, in Zagreb the project worked as an ongoing “display machine”. It juxtaposed the collection’s canonical works with a number of historical and contemporary works in order to address and reframe some of the recurring themes that stem from the collection, such as radical utopianism, the figure of dissident artist, questions of gendered bodies, political subjectivities and engagement, and the status of public space.
Titled after a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated, the project is inspired by Stilinović’s life-long anti-systemic artistic approach that searched for more autonomous ways of artistic production through what he called “poor art." For the exhibition at The Showroom, the title My sweet little lamb (Everything we see could also be otherwise) is reversed to Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb) as a marker of translation of the project's specificities from one locality to another. The exhibition includes works by Stilinović that look at relations between economy, money and ideology, and attempts as a whole to look into artistic anti-approaches from 1960s and 1970s from a contemporary perspective. With the artistic anti-systemic and anti-commodity strategies of the past, now largely commodified and assimilated in the market, the epilogue stages a search for available gestures of their revival by using a wide range of artistic strategies, personal systems and self-contextualizing filters.
The exhibition at The Showroom is not a final word as much an attempt to look at the collection through different lenses. It proposes guidelines for a decolonization of the imaginary of margins and peripheries, and revival of anti-systemic artistic modalities in the present.
In a dense spatial configuration, the works will inhabit the interior and exterior of The Showroom’s building, confronting its architecture with an installation resembling a temporary occupation or the moving into a new space. The gesture of occupying the space is imbued with an attempt towards the de-musealisation of the collection as a wholesome entity and interrupts fixed modes of presenting historical works with more disorderly and experimental arrangements.
The exhibition in London expands the project’s context with the inclusion of several London-based artists of different generations. The project’s epilogue staged in Brexit London is haunted by the post-communist transition and its suppressed lessons, asking how this experience can be related to our common future.
In spring 2018 a publication contextualizing the whole project will be published by WHW and Kontakt.
Supported by ERSTE Foundation, Erste Group Bank AG, Arts Council England, Austrian Cultural Forum London, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
Lutz Becker, Geta Brătescu, Josef Dabernig, Nika Dubrovsky, Tim Etchells, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Marcus Geiger, Tomislav Gotovac, Ion Grigorescu, Vlatka Horvat, Sanja Iveković, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Jiří Kovanda, Edward Krasiński, KwieKulik, Katalin Ladik, David Maljković, Dóra Maurer, Oscar Murillo, Paul Neagu, Neša Paripović, Ewa Partum, Manuel Pelmuş, Cora Pongracz, Ashley Hans Scheirl, Petr Štembera, Mladen Stilinović, Goran Trbuljak, Mona Vătămanu and Florin Tudor, Stephen Willats
Curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW and Kathrin Rhomberg, in collaboration with Emily Pethick