Utopia and Monument II
On Virtuosity and the Public Sphere
Exhibition for the public space
24 September – 2 November 2010
steirischer herbst festival
5 pm, Opening at the Exhibition pavilion, Tummelplatz
6 pm, Performance by Paulina Olowska “Onethousandsixhundredandseventeen Neons in Warszawa,” Andreas-Hofer-Platz, Graz
With works by Armando Andrade Tudela, Kader Attia, Ângela Ferreira, Andrea Fraser, Isa Genzken, John Knight, Jutta Koether, Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik (Jesko Fezer, Anita Kaspar & Andreas Müller), Paulina Olowska, Michael Schuster, Ruby Sircar with students of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Technical University Graz, and sozYAH (Sabine Haring & Anja Eder) of the Center for Social Research at the Faculty of Sociology, Karl-Franzens-University Graz.
Curated by Sabine Breitwieser
“Utopia and Monument” is a two-stage temporary exhibition for the public space curated by Sabine Breitwieser for steirischer herbst festival 2009 and 2010 in Graz. Provocatively it negotiates two concepts that have disappeared from the debate on the public sphere: utopia as a space of thought and the monument as a space of memory. Two contradictory concepts in dialogue, that have each come in for critical analysis in recent years, challenging and questioning their validity.
Additionally “Utopia and Monument” is referring to the festival’s annual leitmotif. After “Utopia and Monument I”, on the validity of art between privatisation and public sphere, part II is dedicated to “Virtuosity and the public sphere”: How does art for public space expose itself to the gaze of others but at the same time needs their presence: what transfers, what interventions, but also what disappearances insist on sharing common space?
How do artists deal with this situation of their exposure (as a political act?), how do they react to the expectations and various interests with which they are confronted? What specific abilities and skills do they possess with regard to designing memorials, sculptures and monuments – that is to say, interventions intended to create public effect, a political terrain of common affairs? What networks and proven co-operations do they avail themselves of? Do they need cunning PR strategies to make their own work visible in public space in the first place?
This exhibition for the public space with its commissioned works becomes an experiment exploring the question whether the public space can still offer the “space of appearance”, as politically organised space, as described by Hannah Arendt. The exhibition covers a wide range of works from collective models and changes in the psycho-geographical sphere all the way to work in which artistic authorship is reduced to a script, with the work being carried out by someone else. Ten artists and two university faculties develop projects on this topic for the public space in Graz and beyond.
A catalogue will be published with essays by the editor Sabine Breitwieser, Simone Hain, a conversation by Diedrich Diederichsen and Christine Frisinghelli and texts on the individual works of the twenty artists participating in “Utopia and Monument” by the authors Jürgen Bock, Reinhard Braun, Juli Carson, Alice Creischer/Andreas Siekmann/Werner Rügemer, David Crowley, T.J. Demos, Claire Doherty, Silvia Eiblmayr, Brigitte Franzen, Andrea Fraser, Martin Fritz, Emiliano Gandolfi, Søren Grammel, David Joselit, John Knight, Francesco Manacorda, Doreen Mende, Kobena Mercer, André Rottmann, Ruby Sircar, Beate Söntgen.
Issued in separate German and English editions, approx. 200 pages, with approx. 100 colour images and including the two original exhibition guides and artist projects by Michael Zinganel and Andrea Fraser of the exhibitions 2009 and 2010.
Courtesy Kader Attia.