press release

The social critique 1993-2005 is a contemporary art historical exhibition aimed at giving an introduction and a structure to an important and eventful period in contemporary art. To a large extent the social criticism grew out of the vacuum that the artworld of the early 1990´s found itself in, a consequence that Postmodernism during the 1980´s had dismantled Art from its pedestal, and won the symbolic power in the artworld. Art had no longer any value in itself. At the same time the status of art was increasingly upheld by the hype that surrounded contemporary art during the economic boom of that decade. With the recession of the early 1990´s the influx of capital into the art world ceased and this in turn led to the disappearance of hype. The art world imploded. In the early 1990´s this lead to a great sense of insecurity about where the contemporary art scene stood, and where it was going, when so to speak everything was possible. Art was in need of a new identity, maybe even a new reason for its existence.

That something had happened became obvious in 1993, at the Venice Biennale. With his Aperto-exhibition the curator Achille Bonito Oliva formulated a number of concurrent artistic positions that together gave a structure for where the contemporary art-scene was heading and what subjects it could deal with. It was in the social field that art had its function. Within the area of art there were a number of possibilities of focusing on various aspects of the social, within the large as well as the small. The Whitney Biennale in 1993 had also shown the same tendencies. The artist Rirkrit Tiravanija now became more and more internationally recognised. Tiravanija had taken as his point of departure an idea pioneered by Joseph Beuys, the idea of the social sculpture, and for a number of years he was touring the art world with his cooking pieces that also were based on the social function of art.

The exhibition at Kalmar konstmuseum will consist of 20-25 works from this period. Starting from a more humoristic standpoint, social criticism became increasingly hardcore and theoretically formulated and when moving into its end phase it shifted towards an aesthetisised form. The exhibition deals with subjects such as relational aesthetics, art as research and post colonial theory. It is interesting to notice that the art of the social critique in reality grew out of the vacuum created from the last economic crash of the 1980´s and that its strength diminished with the influx of capital into the art world during the last decade. Today the situation is partly the same as in the early 1990´s and there is an uncertainty/openness about what is really happening on the contemporary art scene.

Curator: Martin Schibli

SOCIAL CRITICISM 1993-2005 - an art historical expose
Kurator: Martin Schibli

Künstler: Franz Ackermann, Maja Bajevic, Richard Billingham, Angela Bulloch, Heath Bunting, com & com , Stefan Constantinescu, Plamen Dejanoff & Swetlana Heger, Maria Eichhorn, Sylvie Fleury, Felix Gmelin, Johan Grimonprez, Jens Haaning, Swetlana Heger, Christine Hill, Sabine Hornig, Isaac Julien, Peter Land, Zbigniew Libera, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Rivane Neuenschwander / Cao Guimaraes, Annee Olofsson, Tanja Ostojic, Oliver Ressler, Pipilotti Rist, Annika Ström, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Elin Wikström, Zhang Huan.