press release

Illiberal Arts

September 11–November 21, 2021

Exhibition, performances, workshops, publication
Curated by Anselm Franke and Kerstin Stakemeier

Art and its institutions find themselves at a turning point. Increasingly they are becoming venues for forces that call into question their equally exemplary and compensatory function as a realm of absolute freedoms. The irreversible loss of Western hegemony and the defensive struggle for liberal privileges and ownership rights are also tearing apart the modern special status of art. Institutions, exhibitions, and individual works are progressively becoming the focus of debates about colonial forms of violence and systemic exclusion, historical trauma and cultural reparations. The formalisms of modern and contemporary art more and more appear to be historically instituted constraints into which ways of living and practices, devalued over centuries, now break.

The exhibition Illiberal Arts presents more than 20 new artistic productions that make desires and contradictions apparent, that remain unredeemable and inextricable, but in whose cracks horizons open up beyond the value form and confinement of art. Illiberal Arts locates artistic life’s works at precisely those fractures within which the current dissolution of liberal promises of freedom and order intersect with a shift in perspective materialized in these practices themselves. Starting from very concrete dependencies, the assembled artistic forms of work are attempts to open up to non-artistic forms, to social processes.

For Illiberal Arts, artist Anne Imhof collaborated with the architectural firm sub to develop a spatial work that realigns our bodies along a shifted horizon. In addition to the acoustic works, installations, visual works and films shown in this structure, Illiberal Arts is accompanied by a series of live performances. With participating poets, workshops will demonstrate language as a material form of perception. The revisions of (art) history developed, for example, in the catalog essays will be located in the present by a podcast series and online seminars.

With contributions by Cassandra Press, Raven Chacon mit Candice Hopkins, Cut away, with effects (2021), Bill Dietz, Stephan Dillemuth, Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu, Thomas Eggerer, Frank Engster, Ciarán Finlayson, keyon gaskin, Melanie Gilligan, Larne Abse Gogarty, Nicholas Grafia, Tamar Guimarães, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Danny Hayward, Johanna Hedva, Ho Rui An, Anne Imhof, Pauline Curnier Jardin with the Feel Good Cooperative (Dana, Giuliana, Alexandra Lopez, Serena Olcuire, Gilda Star, Barby Valentina), Lisa Jeschke, Karrabing Film Collective, Aristilde Paz Justine Kirby, Anja Kirschner, Dani Leder, Jota Mombaça, Rosalind C. Morris, MYSTI, Jenny Nachtigall, Henrike Naumann, Fumi Okiji, Orakel, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Steve Reinke, Mikołaj Sobczak, Juliana Spahr, Jordan Strafer, Sunset Open Call (Kasi Althaus, Elena Peters Arnolds, Kathy Seitzinger Hepburn, Laura L. LePere, Aude Lèvere, Andrea Victoria Paradiso, Denise Pinnell, Christin Rothe, Suzie Sullivan, Amy Sutryn, Rosana VanHorn), Marina Vishmidt, Simone White, Philip Wiegard, Kandis Williams, Constantina Zavitsanos