How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground)’

How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground)’

Miami Art Central (MAC)

November 18, 2004

How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground)'
30 November 2004 – 30 January 2005

Miami Art Central (MAC)
5960 SW 57 Avenue, Miami,
Florida 33143

Open Tuesday through Sunday
12 to 7 p.m.

Allan Sekula ‘Prayer for the Americans’, 1999-2004, Slide Projection Collection of the artist; courtesy Galerie Michel Rein, Paris    How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground)

Miami Art Central (MAC) announces the opening of How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground) on view November 30, 2004 through January 30, 2005. The exhibition is the third in the series Die Regierung (The Government) and is organized by Roger M. Buergel (Artistic Director of documenta XII) and Ruth Noack around the topic of governmentality, a term used by the late philosopher Michel Foucault to describe the tricky-sometimes beneficial, sometimes destructive-relations between individuality and contemporary power.

Each exhibition, in the series of five, explores a different aspect of the general theme by incorporating new works and adopting a fresh curatorial approach geared toward the specific site. The installation at MAC addresses the relational character of human existence-the fact that “being” is an ongoing mediation between “figure” and “ground.”

How do we want to be governed? The question was raised by Foucault almost a quarter century ago, when the great administrative apparati began to dissolve, the European welfare state was showing signs of erosion, and the Soviet Bloc was on the brink of collapse. But its history extends as far back as the late Middle Ages, when Ambrogio Lorenzetti created his frescoes on good and bad government in Siena’s town hall. Like Foucault, Lorenzetti perceived of government as exerting power indirectly and subtly, rather than directly and spectacularly, on its citizens. In this light, government is seen as a structure of actions brought to bear upon other actions (or upon the actions of others), and to govern means to create a situation in which subjects are incited or constrained to act.

Government, however, is more than the theme of these exhibitions; it provides each installation with its particular form. The series builds on changing constellations of artworks acting upon each other, thereby extending itself in time and space, much like a film in three dimensions. The aim of this ongoing mediation between works is to include the spectator in its unfolding. Viewers and artworks are actions upon actions, are “figure and ground” with respect to each other.

The exhibition series began at the Kunstraum der Universitat Luneburg in Germany in 2003 with three installations Die Regierung (The Government), The University Is a Factory, and How Can We Know the Dancer from the Dance?. The second in the series was recently presented at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in Spain as Com volem ser governats?. Following the installation at MAC, the exhibition will travel to the Secession in Vienna, Austria and to Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.

Sonia Abian and Carlos Piegari, Ibon Aranberri, Maja Bajevic, James Coleman, Alice Creischer, Danica Dakic, Ines Doujak, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Harun Farocki, Peter Friedl, Andrea Geyer, Sanja Ivekovic, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Rainer Oldendorf, Florian Pumhosl, Alejandra Riera and Fulvia Carnevale, Martha Rosler, Dierk Schmidt, Allan Sekula, Andreas Siekmann, Imogen Stidworthy, Jurgen Stollhans, Tucuman Arde, Simon Wachsmuth, Francesca Woodman, and Olivier Zabat

Roger M. Buergel is an independent curator and a noted lecturer in visual theory at the University of Luneburg in Germany. He was recently named Artistic Director of the international art exhibition documenta 12, scheduled to open on June 8, 2007 in Kassel, Germany. Buergel attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and the University of Vienna studying contemporary art, philosophy and economics. Buergel was the first recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement, presented by The Menil Collection in Houston.

Buergel has organized numerous exhibitions in addition to Die Regierung including Formen der Organisation [Organisational Form] at the Gallery of the Academy of Visual Arts (Leipzig, Germany, 2003), Organisational Form at Skuc Galerija (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2002), The Subject and Power – the lyrical voice at the Central House of Artists (Moscow, Russia, 2001), Governmentality. Art in conflict with the international hyper-bourgeoisie and the national petty-bourgeoisie at Alte Kestner Gesellschaft (Hannover, Germany, 2000), Dinge, die wir nicht verstehen [Things, we don't understand] at the Generali Foundation (Vienna, Austria, 2000), and Revisions of Abstract Expressionism: Painting between Vulgarity and the Sublime at Kunstraum der Universitat Luneburg (Luneburg, Germany, 1999).

Ruth Noack is an art historian, lecturer, independent curator and art critic. She also teaches film theory at the University of Vienna. From 2002-03 she served as the President of the Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art in Austria and from 1994 has served as an art critic for springerin, Camera Austria, and Texte zur Kunst. Noack studied art history, audio-visual media and feminist theory in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria.

Since 1992, Noack has collaborated with Buergel on several exhibitions in addition to Die Regierung including Formen der Organisation (Organisational Form) at the Gallery of the Academy of Visual Arts (Leipzig, Germany, 2003), Organisational Form at Skuc Galerija (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2002), and Dinge, die wir nicht verstehen (Things, we don’t understand) at the Generali Foundation (Vienna, Austria, 2000).
How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground) is accompanied by a 144-page, full-color catalogue.

MAC is a not for profit institution dedicated to the support and encouragement of international contemporary art and culture. MAC strives to be a truly distinct and unique institution and an alternative and experimental space for the arts.

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November 18, 2004

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