April 27, 2015 - Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) - RARE EARTH
April 27, 2015


Ai Weiwei, Rare Towel.Cotton, polyester / Europium thread embroidery, dimensions variable. Commissioned by TBA21 for Rare Earth, TBA21–Augarten, 2015. Photo: Jens Ziehe / Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, 2015.

February 19–May 31, 2015
Boris Groys “Truth of Art” lecture
Thursday, May 14, 7pm
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary–Augarten
Scherzergasse 1A
1020 Vienna
Hours: Wednesday–Thursday noon—5pm, 
Friday–Sunday noon—7pm
T +43 1 513 98 56-24
augarten [​at​] tba21.org


“Geology and Media”: seminar with Natural History Museum Vienna: Wednesday, May 20
3–4pm, RARE EARTH exhibition tour by co–curator Boris Ondreička (TBA21)
5–6pm, tour of the the Mineral Collection with emphasis on Rare Earth elements by Dr. Vera M. F. Hammer (Natural History Museum)
6:30pm, Lecture on “Geology and Media” by Dr. Jussi Parikka (University of Southampton) at Natural History Museum Vienna

Natural History Museum Vienna
Burgring 7
1010 Vienna

T +43 1 52177 332


Curated by Boris Ondreička & Nadim Samman

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary’s most ambitious thematic exhibition to date, RARE EARTH features 17 artistic positions, including ten new commissions. RARE EARTH is nothing less than an attempt to define the spirit of our age: an exhibition relating myth, identity, and cosmology to current advances in technology, through reference to the material basis for the most developed weapons and tools—a class of 17 “rare earth”  elements from the periodic table found in everything from mobile phones to computer hard drives. After the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, this is the age of RARE EARTH.
Rare earth elements are the game-changing foundation of our most powerful innovations—materials that underpin an ever-expanding list of technologies. First deployed on an industrial scale with the invention of the cathode ray television screen, they are fundamental to contemporary accouterments such as mobile phones, iPods and iPads, liquid crystal displays, LEDs, light bulbs, CDs and DVDs. Often described as “conflict materials” due to the limited number of easily accessible mines, they are also integral to weapon systems used for cyber-warfare, medical technologies, including MRI scanning equipment, hybrid vehicles, green energy and wind turbines. Consequently, rare earth elements play an ever-increasing role in global politics and economics. In keeping with TBA21′s interest in social and geopolitical issues, participating artists represent countries directly involved in rare earth extraction and trading.
Featured artists
Ai Weiwei (China), Iain Ball (UK), Erick Beltrán (Mexico), Julian Charrière (Switzerland), Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen (UK, Belgium), Camille Henrot (France), Roger Hiorns (UK), Marguerite Humeau (France), Oliver Laric (Austria), Ursula Mayer (Austria), Jean Katambayi Mukendi (Congo), Otolith Group (UK), Katie Paterson (UK), Charles Stankievech (Canada), Suzanne Treister (UK), Guan Xiao (China), Arseniy Zhilyaev (Russia)
A catalogue will be published to coincide with the exhibition, featuring contributions by Iain Ball, Benjamin Bratton, Erick Beltràn, Jane Bennett, Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen, Erik Davis, Paul Feigelfeld & John Durham Peters, Boris Groys, Marguerite Humeau, Timothy Morton, Boris Ondreička, Matteo Pasquinelli, Jussi Parikka and Nadim Samman, edited by Boris Ondreička and Nadim Samman, published by Sternberg Press.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York