press release

The show is named after a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé. It refers to the main character of Joris-Karl Huysmans' famous novel "À rebours" (Against the Grain).

When the French writer Huysmans (1848-1907) published "À rebours", he broke with the dictum of the naturalist style constituted by Emile Zola. It is a novel in which very little happens; its narrative concentrates almost entirely on its principal character, and is mostly a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Jean Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero, who loathes 19th Century bourgeois society and tries to retreat into an ideal artistic world of his own creation. "À rebours" eventually became the ultimate example of "decadent" literature.

"This book will be the biggest fiasco of the year - but I don't care a damn", Huysmans predicted. But he was wrong. When it was published in 1883 "À rebous" became a manifesto of decadent living, and a great inspiration for other writers such as Oscar Wilde. Therefore it can be understood as a synonyme for creative power and reformation.

The group show at Karma International Zurich takes up the accumulation of ideas, artistic concepts and the idea of creating a universe of its own within a given space. just like des Esseintes did in his home by collecting different items and cramming his house with them, The selected works will be displayed in a dense, Russian-style hanging, inspired by the French Salon of the 19th Century. The artists included are all connected to the history of Karma International in one way or another and can therefore be seen as a part of a "retrospective" of the gallery's short history.

The combination of the different conceptual works in a limited space is an attempt to break contemporary curatorial strategies that tend to give each art work as much room as possible. On the contrary the rich display is a way to show that different art works can enrich each other, go into a dialogue and that they even require each other's presence since no piece can be made without the influence of art historical knowledge. Last but not least the show is a counterpart to the current atmosphere slowed down by the financial crisis. It is a rich and vivid celebration of L'Art pour L'Art.

only in german

Prose pour des Esseintes
Groupshow at Karma International

Künstler: John Armleder, Agnieszka Brzezanska, Anne Collier, Annelise Coste, Thea Djordjadze, Ida Ekblad, Mathew Hale, Gregor Hildebrandt, Annette Kelm, Manuela Leinhoss, Chris Lipomi, Tobias Madison, Fabian Marti, Mamiko Otsubo, Sarah Parsons, Peter Piller, Mai-Thu Perret, Lili Reynaud Dewar, Pamela Rosenkranz, Emanuel Rossetti, Jonas Wood, Tomek Sacilowski, Jan Mancuska, Aleksander Wawrzyniak, Klaus Weber, Matt Sheridan Smith, Maximilian Zentz-Zlomovitz