May 19, 2019 - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - The Whole Life
May 19, 2019

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Bruno Adler, Utopia, 1921. Dokumente der Wirklichkeit. Archiv Marzona. Photo: Marcus Schneider.

The Whole Life
Archives and Reality
May 19–25, 2019

Opening: May 19, 7pm
Kunsthalle im Lispiusbau

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Residenzschloss Dresden
Taschenberg 2
01067 Dresden
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +49 351 49142621
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The archive is omnipresent and always temporary. It reflects the realities of the past—while archived knowledge at the same time shapes the present. How do archives and their objects translate historical realities into contemporary narratives? What does this mean for the structure of archives, for their users, technologies, and forms of knowledge production? What can archives do for today’s societies?

In 2016 Egidio Marzona’s private collection was donated to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD). This transformation of a private collection into a public archive, the Archiv der Avantgarden (AdA), is the starting point for The Whole Life: Archives and Reality. This moment of transition raises numerous new questions: What potential unfolds within such a transformation process? How do archival practices and policies today determine the diversity and structure of collections? What significance does the archive have as a site for counter narratives and alternative knowledge production? The Whole Life gathers objects, artists, researchers, and practitioners in the space of the Lipsiusbau to address these questions throughout a week-long program of archive viewings, public lectures, evening events, and an international congress.

Archive viewing
May 20-25, 2019

A draft of a work by Robert Barry, a motorbike developed by the designer Philippe Starck, La Boite-en-valise from Duchamp’s B-series, texts and publications from the group ZERO: The Archiv der Avantgarden consists of artistic works and drafts, letters, photographs, and everyday and design objects from the 20th century. Amongst its holdings, it includes collections of Bauhaus objects, photographic records of the Fluxus movement, documents of the Polish Futurists, and magazines from the international labour movement. Nine artists research and work through their own strategies, methods, and questions along the narratives of the AdA opening up individual perspectives on the collection. In their works, many of which have been specially conceived for the Archive Viewing, they place materials from the archive in spatial, filmic, and performative dialogue. A week-long program of readings, lectures, and guided tours offers further thematic insights into the extensive collection.

With works by Yane Calovski, Assaf Gruber, Gabi Ngcobo, Olaf Nicolai, Meg Stuart, Mathilde ter Heijne, Clarissa Thieme & Tanja Krone and Ala Younis.

May 23-25, 2019

Against the background of the transformation of a private collection into a public institution, the international congress focuses on practices, technologies, and politics in and around the archive: In the spatial setting of the public Archive Viewing in the Lipsiusbau, scientists, archivists, curators, and artists discuss archival methods, propose new possibilities for activating archival material, and analyze the politics and paradigms of current and future archives. Which forms of memory spaces can archives and collections reflect, and which do they generate themselves? What is the relationship between archives and canonization processes and what technologies, metaphors, and social processes are part of archival practices? How can we imagine the concepts, narratives, and aesthetics of future archives?


The Whole Life: Archives and Reality is a collaboration between Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art / Archive außer sich, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Pina Bausch Foundation, and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD). It is part of HKW’s project The New Alphabet, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.

Within the framework of The Whole Life the Whole Life Academy will be held from May 19–25. During workshops and field trips, 60 participants will address the status of archives and their connections across various archive locations in Dresden. The academy is not open to the public. Funded by VolkswagenStiftung.

The cooperation for the evening event Down by the Water will take place as part of Tanzkongress 2019 and is supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung). In cooperation with the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden. Tanzkongress 2019 is an event of the Federal Cultural Foundation.

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
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