Annual program 2015

Annual program 2015

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Xanti Schawinsky, Transition, 1960. Oil on canvas, 203.4 x 381.4 x 5.3 cm. Courtesy of the Xanti Schawinsky Estate Zürich. Photo: Daniel Schawinsky.

December 12, 2014

Annual program 2015

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Limmatstrasse 270
CH-8005 Zürich
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 11am–6pm,
Thursday 11am–8pm, Saturday–Sunday 10am–5pm

In 2015, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst presents a retrospective of the Swiss artist Xanti Schawinsky, a solo exhibition by the Korean artist duo Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho, and two thematic group exhibitions (Toys Redux—On Play and Critique and Resistance Performed). Works from the collection will be shown in the group exhibition Toys Redux—On Play and Critique as well as in the Collection on Display format.


Xanti Schawinsky
21 February–17 May 2015

Opening: Friday, 20 February, 6–9pm

The Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst presents the first comprehensive retrospective of the oeuvre of the Swiss artist Xanti Schawinsky (born in Basel, 1904–died in Locarno, 1979). In his lifetime, Schawinsky was mainly known for his work in the theater department at the Bauhaus. In the 1930s, while teaching at Black Mountain College, a legendary art college in North Carolina that provided refuge for many European emigrants during the Nazi era, Schawinsky, building on his Bauhaus work, developed his dramatic theory known as “Spectodrama.” Involving multimedia productions that examine elementary phenomena such as space, motion, light, sound, or color from scientific, technical, and performance-based perspectives, it represents an early form of the “happening,” which would later be made famous by another affiliate of the same institution, John Cage. Schawinsky’s work as a painter also addresses the dissolution of the medium’s boundaries and focuses on the process, for instance in his “Track” series, which he “painted” with the aid of a car. 

For the first time, the retrospective at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst brings together pieces from all periods of this artist’s creative output. Beyond the avant-garde utopias of the Bauhaus and his proto-happening art, Schawinsky’s oeuvre is linked in many ways to the majory tendencies in European as well as American prewar and postwar 20th-century modernism. His work may thus also be seen as representative of the transatlantic exchange of artistic ideas that was induced by the political situation and had a lasting impact on art history. This exhibition is the first to present the full breadth of Schawinsky’s outstanding oeuvre (which was inaccessible to the public for several decades) and positions it both within a historical context and in relation to its continuing effect on the present. 

The exhibition is curated by Raphael Gygax (Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst). It will be accompanied by a monographic JRP|Ringier publication with essays by Thorsten Blume, Eva Díaz, Raphael Gygax, Juliet Koss and Tobias Peper. 


Toys Redux—On Play and Critique 
30 May–16 August 2015

Opening: Friday, 29 May 6–9pm

This exhibition brings together artists who use formats and imagery from popular culture that are usually addressed to children or teenagers. Such adoption of motifs disseminated in specific entertainment formats should not be seen merely as a reference to or appropriation of popular culture. It becomes an implicit or explicit critique of a kind of capitalist production of consumer worlds that targets specific audiences but has also infiltrated the field of art for quite some time. Such playful children’s or fantasy worlds, with their pop aesthetic and inherent promise of “innocence,” contrast with the reality of these neoliberal advertising and market strategies. Subjected to a contextual shift, the rhetoric of these formats develops a new vocabulary. This thematic exhibition brings together works by artists from different generations (Judith Bernstein, Jan Peter Hammer, Lily van der Stokker et al.) with art from the collection of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Cory Arcangel, Nic Hess et al.), expanding on one of the museum’s ongoing central themes, as established by shows by Cory Arcangel (2005), Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (2007), Alex Bag (2011), and others.

The exhibition is curated by Raphael Gygax (Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst) and Judith Welter (Collection Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst). It will be accompanied by a JRP|Ringier publication.

Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho
29 August–8 November 2015

Opening: Friday, 28 August, 6–9 pm

Against a backdrop of political, socioeconomic, and ecological changes, the works of the Korean artists Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho examine fundamental issues of contemporary civilization. In their jointly exhibition project News from Nowhere (2012), which is based on their contribution to Documenta (13) and designed for ongoing development, the two artists explore a dystopian vision in which humanity has been almost eliminated and is compelled to reassess widely held convictions that may have become untenable. For this purpose, Moon & Jeon created an intermedia platform from a combination of different presentation forms such as film, installation art, and book publication and invited renowned experts from the fields of product and fashion design, architecture, urban development, and medical and biotechnological research to contribute their visionary solutions and demonstrate new perspectives regarding the sustainable use of resources. To date, participants in this ongoing collaboration have included the Japanese architect Toyo Ito and the design studio Takram Design Engineering. Seeking to compile a comprehensive diagnostic survey of our present age and initiate new discourses about our future, the artist duo’s exhibition project also breaks new ground with regard to the role of art in society. At the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Moon & Jeon will set up another in their series of laboratories for the synthesis of different creative approaches to continue their analyses for News from Nowhere.

The works of the artist duo Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho have been exhibited at the Fukuoka Triennale (2014), The Sullivan Galleries—School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2013), Documenta (13), the Gwangju Biennale (both 2012), the Moscow Biennale, and the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts (both 2010). Previously, they have been independently represented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. They are representatives of the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale 2015.

The exhibition is curated by Heike Munder (Director, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst). It will be accompanied by a JRP|Ringier publication.

Resistance Performed
21 November 2015–7 February 2016

Opening: Friday 20 November, 6–9pm

In the extensive group exhibition Resistance Performed, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst addresses performative artistic production strategies as a lived practice of resistance in different countries of Latin America such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The center of this exhibition are historical positions that have borne witness to the way people have resisted repressive and dictatorial political systems in Latin America since the 1960s, often jeopardizing their own lives (e.g. 3Nós3, Elías Adasme, Lenora de Barros, Paulo Bruscky, Antonio Dias, León Ferrari, Gastão de Magalhães, Cildo Meireles, Luis Pazos, Horacio Zabala, Anna Maria Maiolino, Yeguas del Apocalipsis). In a dialogue with contemporary positions, the intention is to conduct a fresh exploration of the idea of resistance. In recent years, performative strategies have regained significance in contemporary artistic practice, raising the question: are these still viable strategies today to undermine hierarchical structures or even change political systems? 

The exhibition is curated by Heike Munder (Director, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst). It will be accompanied by a JRP|Ringier publication.

Collection on Display: Experimental Arrangements
29 August–8 November 2015 

Opening: Friday 28 August, 6–9pm

Christine Borland, Mark Dion, Maria Eichhorn, VALIE EXPORT, Andrea Fraser, Raphael Hefti, Christian Philipp Müller, Victor Vasarely, et al.

The exhibition format Collection on Display presents selected works from the collection of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst. In August 2015, a new edition of Collection on Display titled Experimental Arrangements features works that arise from experiments or that visualize ways in which knowledge is created and ordered. The show discusses art practices for the purpose of research from a variety of angles. The “findings” obtained from such approaches, though they may not always be very effective, have special potential. The second half of the year will also see the commencement of a cycle of events that will address various questions around the “contemporary” as a challenge to collections and museums.

Collection on Display is curated by Judith Welter (Collection Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst).


Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst's annual program 2015
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