September 5, 2018 - Goethe-Institut Porto Alegre - 14 contemporary artists from Southern Brazil and Germany: The Power of Multiplication
September 5, 2018

Goethe-Institut Porto Alegre

Regina Silveira, Trans-Amazonian Highway, 1977. Digital print. Photo: Estúdio de Arte. Courtesy of Regina Silveira.

14 contemporary artists from Southern Brazil and Germany
The Power of Multiplication
MARGS - Art Museum of Rio Grande do Sul and Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei
September 11, 2018–March 24, 2019

Artists: Carlos Vergara / Flavya Mutran / Hanna Hennenkemper / Helena Kanaan / Hélio Fervenza / Marcelo Chardosim / Olaf Holzapfel / Ottjörg A.C. / Rafael Pagatini / Regina Silveira / Vera Chaves Barcellos / Thomas Kilpper / Tim Berresheim / Xadalu

The Power of Multiplication: From pre- to post-digital reproductive art or from etching via Xerox to VR in Southern Brazil and Germany is an artistic and art theoretical contribution to the discourse on the question of reproducibility today. The exhibition by the Goethe-Institut presents and mediates 14 contemporary artists from Southern Brazil and Germany and is curated by Gregor Jansen, director of the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.

Visitors to the exhibition experience art as a positive constituent of society. In times of economic crises, as currently in many South American countries, culture and especially art play an important role. Art can counteract the worldwide growing tendency towards polarization. Anti-elitist and socio-critical art is particularly suitable to overcome this split. A South American studio network maintains the manifold traditions of printmaking and updates them by supporting international contacts and facilitating new techniques.

In the 1950s, a handful of artists founded so-called printmaking clubs in Rio Grande do Sul and its state capital Porto Alegre, where they could work and teach together. The aspiration was: art for the people. They thus created one of the most important centers for the multiplication of art in Brazil to this day. The city still maintains various graphic art studios and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul has a focus on reproducible art.

The project examines conditions both in the post-digital and in the pre-digital ages. The matrix for discussing issues concerning the original and its reproducibility in the sense of Walter Benjamin dates back to the fifteenth century, when letterpress printing, woodcut, and copperplate engraving first enabled mass replication in art (and revolution) - an art form that has always involved larger sections of the population, and was therefore democratic, critical of society, and not so representative of power. Thirty years after the advent of digital media, with which access to information and multiplication has become a matter of course, questions concerning the basics of design, reproducibility, and contents are currently being discussed anew. Media-immanent questions such as the relationship between original and copy and the veracity of the image arise in the digital age in a completely new way.

Flavya Mutran questions the basic values of an image from both her and our point of view by approaching the problem of photography in media theory, while politically radical gestures are exemplified in the works of XADALU and Marcelo Chardosim, who productively utilize the medium of copying and screen-printing for their socio-political commitment in achieving better living conditions. Carlos Vergara, Ottjörg A.C., Thomas Kilpper, and Olaf Holzapfel show complex adaptations and expansions of well-known printing techniques. Helena Kanaan looks at skin shedding and cloning through performance. Vera Chaves Barcellos, Regina Silveira, and Hanna Hennenkemper likewise focus on physical but also medial transformations that ultimately describe a new illusionary and visionary era in Tim Berresheim's purely digital works.

The Power of Multiplication is a Goethe-Institut project that has been developed in cooperation with the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul together with other partners.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual exhibition catalogue published by the Goethe-Institut with theoretical texts on the subject matter as well as reviews on the artists and their works. A video game developed by a research group of the Federal University will complement the exhibition and deal with questions of reproducibility in a playful manner. Texts, photos, and videos on the website enable an in-depth study of the subject and of the works on display.


Relevant information:
Curator: Gregor Jansen
Consultants: Paulo Gomes, Francisco Dalcol, Andreas Schalhorn
Concept and Production: Goethe-Institut Porto Alegre

MARGS – Art Museum of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
September 11–November 11, 2018

Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am7pm
Opening: September 11, 7pm

Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig, Germany
February 28–March 24, 2019


The newspaper as a work of art: editions of the feature pages and magazines of the German daily newspapers Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Welt, which were designed by artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Jenny Holzer, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz and others, complete the exhibition.

Goethe-Institut Porto Alegre
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The Power of Multiplication
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