Measuring the World: Heterotopias and Knowledge Spaces in Art

Measuring the World: Heterotopias and Knowledge Spaces in Art

Kunsthaus Graz

Rivane Neuenschwander, “Pangaea’s Diaries,” 2008 (Still).

June 6, 2011

Measuring the World
Heterotopias and Knowledge Spaces in Art

11 June–4 September 2011

10 June 2011, 7pmSpace01 & Space02
Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz

Katrin Bucher Trantow, Peter Pakesch

kunsthausgraz [​at​]

Artists collect visual archives like explorers stick maps on their walls. Plans of the known and unknown—what’s already explored or still has to be—set the mind racing down connections and critical challenges to them in the direction of insight. With the enormous incoming tide that has been the growth of knowledge over the last 200 years, modern science developed, claiming to have measured large parts of our universe, only to discover time and again—exactly like Humboldt and Gauss in Daniel Kehlmann’s novel Measuring the World—that the world had moved on while it was being measured.

According to Foucault, museums as heterotopic warehouses of knowledge contribute to this in many ways, and are past masters at giving accumulative space to the diversity of this world and all the different ways of accessing it. This development and its importance for our intellectual history have been closely examined in recent decades. Not least among the contributions to this process were those of art, whose own musings took very disparate forms. In this sense, an exhibition that investigates ‘measurement’ can be seen as a form of museological self-reflection, taking an impartial, critical look at our own activity on the occasion of the bicentenary of the Universalmuseum Joanneum.

Concerning oneself with the question of systematisation means also challenging the way the exhibition is set up. Consequently, some projects arose from looking at ourselves, the issue of exhibiting, the place and its history. Sharon Lockhart’s film installation and collaboration with the currently incarcerated Chinese artist Ai Weiwei for example are projects that focus on the subject of work, creation and originals, while taking a critical look at the creative process underlying the museum’s order-system. Helen Mirra’s Farbenweg, indirekter (Colour Way, Indirect) lays out a subtle network of word poems throughout the different institutions of the museum. Drawing on Wittgenstein’s Observations on Colour, the work refers to the defining power of language and its connection to the perception of space. Other works like Clegg & Guttmann’s What can be expressed and what is always left out of the description (Graz), which concentrates on the act of taxonomy, bring together different objects and documents from the museum’s collections and refer to the museum as a place of common and collective knowledge.

The exhibition brings together a large number of contemporary and historical works from different disciplines that deal with structures of knowledge. Its intention is not to draw up a plan in accordance with a prefabricated code, but to lay out a new ambiguous and critical map.

The layout of the exhibition in terms of form, content, space and personal structure is an attempt to admit links that set out multilayer networks in accordance with our time, that are heterotopic in the best sense and capable of being the codifying museum’s own heterotopia.

Just like science, art also tries to portray the world and the system underlying it. In the process, it disregards categories of knowledge-pigeonholing and defines man as the centre of his own measuring work.

Artists: Franz Ackermann, Ai Weiwei, Stefan Arztmann, Alighiero e Boetti, Marcel Broodthaers, Wolfgang Buchner, Clegg & Guttmann, Hanne Darboven, Mark Dion, Charles & Ray Eames, Stephan Huber, Peter Kogler, Ulrike Königshofer, Joseph Kosuth, Zoe Leonard, Sharon Lockhart, Constantin Luser, Vera Lutter, Tobias Madison, Helen Mirra, Matt Mullican, Vik Muniz, Rivane Neuenschwander, Gabriel Orozco, Nam June Paik, Grayson Perry, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Dieter Roth, Daniel Spoerri, Simon Starling, Ernst Strouhal, Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Superflex, Sofie Thorsen, Corinne Wasmuht, Christopher Williams, Manfred Willmann, Terry Winters, Heimo Zobernig, zweintopf

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June 6, 2011

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