Showing Without Telling

Showing Without Telling

Burger Collection

December 9, 2011
Showing Without Telling

Curated by Daniel Kurjaković

The Hong Kong based Burger Collection with its multi-regional collection of art recently embarked on a new phase in the Quadrilogy, its exhibition and research project. It launched its own research with the first seminar “Showing Without Telling” about the trans-cultural dynamic in contemporary art. Participants included well-known artists BANI ABIDI (Karachi/Berlin), DAMIEN ROACH (London), and BARTHELEMY TOGUO (Paris/Bandjoun), the critic and writer MANUEL CIRAUQUI (Valencia/New York) as well as the researchers ALEXANDRA CHANG (New York) and STEPHEN CHING-KIU CHAN (Hong Kong).

The research has been established as an extension of the Theory/Conversations, published on the Quadrilogy website ( and consists of an on-going series of seminars, lectures and workshops at various sites in different regions of the world.

Reaching beyond some of the neo-ethnic takes on art from different regions in the 1990s, but also questioning the more recent inclusion of art in the agenda of geo-political discourse, “Showing Without Telling”, which took place from September 15–19, 2011, explored how art is conceived of as a specific form of communication between different regions. It especially tried to convey a complex sense of art that avoids bare applications of information, journalism, or academic knowledge production onto the shifting nature of aesthetic experience. 
The seminar also addressed the role of the private collection within the system of contemporary art. The term ‘collection’ nowadays seems to be mainly understood as an organization that acquires, stores and lends works of art. But how can a private collection expand such known tasks and become more broadly enmeshed in the social fabric? What transformations are necessary for the collection to eventually become a social medium engaging with the concerns of civil society?

The collection as social medium aims at different levels of understanding by examining its reliable public use. For example, public programs centred on a collection’s holdings, a by now often-applied feature of contemporary collection’s operations, as a measure to establish public use is not entirely convincing. What operations have to be necessarily taken into consideration in terms of a constitution of an authentically public use of a collection?

The seminar also served as a platform for the trans-cultural conversation in artistic practice, one of the key concerns of the Quadrilogy. For even though trans-cultural dialogue has a decisive place in contemporary descriptions of global art, its potential to enlighten the multi-regional condition of contemporary art seems underappreciated. One apparent problematic is how trans-culturality is dealt with within the art field. Three co-ordinates were charted as essential when mapping a discussion around trans-culturality in artistic practice:

– applying sound historical frames,
– maintaining an integrationist approach to the general cultural field and,
– conceptually focusing on art as communication beyond extra-aesthetic explanation.

Researchers and artists interested in further details about the seminar “Showing Without Telling” are invited to address their inquiries to Linda Jensen, curatorial assistant: [email protected]

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To read the Theory/Conversations with conversations and statements by artists, art historians and theorists please visit:

Burger Collection (Quadrilogy) will be organizing a symposium during Art HK 2012 as well as a second self-organized seminar in June 2012. After the completion of Conflicting Tales in Berlin in 2009 the Burger Collection now prepares its next set of exhibitions and public programs in Hong Kong in 2012.

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December 9, 2011

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