TOWARDS A NEW ACTIVISM
Palais de Tokyo
site de création contemporaine
13 avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris
T 01 4723 5401 F 01 4720 1531
image: cover of the catalog exhibition « Hardcore, towards a new
» at the Palais de Tokyo, site de création contemporaine, Cercle
editor, Paris, 2003.
« HARDCORE, TOWARDS A NEW ACTIVISM »
A.A.A. Corp. (France), Jota CASTRO (Peru), Shu Lea CHEANG (USA), Minerva
CUEVAS (Mexico), Alain DECLERCQ (France), Michel Dector Michel DUPUY
(France), Ocean EARTH (USA), etoy.CORPORATION (Switzerland), Kendell
(South Africa), Guerrilla Girls on Tour (USA), Johan GRIMONPREZ
Clarisse HAHN (France), Henrik PLENGE JAKOBSEN (Denmark), Gianni MOTTI
(Italy), Anri SALA (Albania), Santiago SIERRA (Mexico), Sislej XHAFA
« At a time of widespread obsession with the rise of violence, of
debate about crime and the threat of terrorism, « Hardcore »
radicalness and « violence ». These are concepts that now figure in
work of many contemporary artists who are developing an attitude that is
akin to a certain activism.
« The title « Hardcore » applies to the way the artists featured
show are infiltrating reality, occupying in a certain way the field of
current events, and sending us back an expression of raw truth that is
delivered without the prerequisite mass-media format. It is the
of a verbal and visual message that unmasks and castigates political and
social initiatives that smack of demagoguery.
« The show is structured around the work of a dozen artists of varying
ages and nationalities who, either alone or in groups, are working out a
new type of activism. It is an activism that no longer springs from the
thinking that dominated the protest movement of the 1960s and 70s, even
though the artists here are products of that milieu. These heirs to the
fall of ideologies are « isolated » activists who together form no
organized movement, but rather represent so many individual strategies.
They are « groupuscules » of protesters who are repositioning one of
facets of art as a tool for transgression, in order to shake things up
better infiltrate the incoherences and deviations effecting the system.
is art as metaphor for positions staked out and a resistance mounted.
them, art is no longer a matter of simply producing a form or creating
effect; it must be a fact of reality, the hyperbole of the yawning gap
left by the media, the social or the political. The work of art becomes
material for provoking a reaction, for questioning, rather than
to be contemplated.
« While artists have always been « hackers of the real », the
and women brought together is this show offer a language and form of
artistic intervention that tend toward a new activism, because they
attempt to transmit, like a pirate radio station, an alternative,
view of a social, economic and political context. In each case, the very
activity and oeuvre of these artists stands for a manifesto, one that
remains most of the time within the symbolic sphere of art writing,
although occasionally it does go beyond that and sparks real debate.
artists often adopt extreme positions, play on limits and greatly
art’s polemical charge and its impact on society and
society’s zones of
Curator of the exhibition
Co-director of the Palais de Tokyo
« Hardcore », the catalog accompanying this show, offers an
approach to the subject, along with texts by politically committed
and theoreticians. The catalog also allows the artists to speak for
themselves through interviews and self-portraits, and tries to recreate
their universe and the basis of their artmaking.
The catalog is jointly published by Éditions du Cercle d’Art
generous support of the Caisse Centrale d’Activités des
électrique et gazière.
As a part of the Focus series, in partnership with the Palais de Tokyo,
Artfilms offers to the artists the possibility of co-editing a 6 minutes
video about their work. These videos will be presented during the
This exhibition is supported by the Maison de l’Amérique Latine,
the Institut du Mexique, Paris ; Pro Helvetia and the Ambassade Royale
This exhibition is presented in partnership with Les Inrockuptibles,
Nova et Nova Magazine, Mouvement, Blast and Planète.
The Palais de Tokyo thanks Corona for the opening.
The Palais de Tokyo, site for contemporary arts, enjoys the support of
French Ministry of Culture and Communications/the Plastic Arts
the Caisse des dépôts et consignations, Pioneer, Illy Caffè,
Radio FG (Les Plans Capitaux) and Mouvement.net, le site indisciplinaire
des arts vivants.
For further information: www.palaisdetokyo.c