Albion Gallery

8 Hester Road
GB-SW11 4AX London

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artists & participants

press release

This topical and rather unusual exhibition at ALBION brings together a disparate range of artists, in terms of style and geography, who each address one of the central issues of our time: fear. The Politics of Fear is a timeous theme focused on personal and public principles, governance and society. Throughout history the arts have whispered and shouted alongside the varying concerns of humanity, countries and social groups. This exhibition will highlight global and ‘local’ anxieties in artworks ranging from paintings, photographs and sculpture to site-specific installations through which this theme has been interpreted by artists far-flung between India, Turkey, China, Pakistan and France.

Politics of Fear looks at misunderstanding and misinterpretation and speaks with one voice of our contemporary zeitgeist. Generally speaking, it is in part societies’ and governments’ intolerance of alternative cultures and belief systems that have led to a strong undercurrent of nervous tension and a distinct, at times, palpable sense of threat. These are hyped up by our respective governments and both local and national media, playing on people's fear, their inability and lack of means by which to have carte blanche knowledge and by which to accurately assess the either real or imagined threats. Each of the artists in this exhibition has their own stand-point, view and means by which to express elements of these issues.

Just as politics and religion make dangerous bedfellows and may tend towards totalitarian extremism, politics and art do not lie well together. The history of social expression and political commentary through art can be traced back to very obvious examples such as The Execution of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (1867 – 68) by Manet, Picasso’s Guernica (1937) and Mark di Suvero and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Peace Tower (1966). The use of history as a benchmark from which to learn from our mistakes has not always been heeded and art has had an important role to play in communicating and recording contemporary effects and aftermaths of particular cataclysmic events. An exhibition of this nature and scope acts as a still, a freeze-frame, of the extraordinary time in which we are living and we are invited to contemplate windows from the worlds depicted by the artists and the politics and fear that shape them.

The Politics of Fear
Hamra Abbas, Kader Attia, Sophie Ernst, Shilpa Gupta, Jorge & Lucy Orta, Xu Bing ...