artists & participants
Mourning On Loss and Change February 7–June 14, 2020
Experiences of loss, grief and change harbour a disturbing potential that is difficult to put into words and nearly impossible to depict. The exhibition brings together contemporary international artworks that revolve around these phenomena. Whether the loss of a loved one through separation or death, departing from cherished ideals and visions, or being deprived of one’s home and familiar surroundings—we all have to grapple with painful incidences of disappointment, failure and irreversible change at some point in our lives. Although these experiences affect each of us differently, the way we cope with, describe and assess them also depends to a great extent on our cultural, social and political environment.
How do artists today picture leave-taking, grief, loss and change? What role is played by traditional formulas for expressing pathos and by universally legible symbols? And what does the way we deal with grief tell us about our present-day world?
In the pictures, sculptures, videos, photographs, installations, slide projections and sound pieces presented, some 30 international artists from 15 countries engage with the theme of loss as a distressing experience of existential uncertainty that irrevocably changes the course of events. The complexity of the theme is illustrated in chapters such as Mourning and Melancholy, Mourning and Gender, Collective Mourning, Mourning and Protest, Forms of Leave-Taking, and The Inability to Mourn.
With their wide variety of voices, the artworks assembled here convey an idea of the manifold forms mourning can take. At the same time, it becomes evident that mourning is a politically significant act from which conclusions can be drawn about social conditions and imbalances. In view of the differential distribution of public grief, the American philosopher Judith Butler once posed the justified and vital question of “whose lives are to be regarded as grievable, as worthy of protection, as belonging to subjects with rights that ought to be honored?” (2009) She went on to say: “I think that an entirely different politics would emerge if a community could learn to abide with its losses and its vulnerability.”
Featured artists: Bas Jan Ader, Kudjoe Affutu, Khaled Barakeh, Christian Boltanski, Helen Cammock, Anne Collier, Johannes Esper, Sibylle Fendt, Seiichi Furuya, Paul Fusco, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Aslan Ġoisum, Ragnar Kjartansson, Maria Lassnig, Jennifer Loeber, Ataa Oko, Adrian Paci, Philippe Parreno, Susan Philipsz, Greta Rauer, Willem de Rooij, Michael Sailstorfer, Thomas Schütte, Dread Scott, Rein Jelle Terpstra, Rosemarie Trockel, Tilman Walther, Andy Warhol.
Curator: Dr Brigitte Kölle