May 20, 2004 - Kunsthaus Baselland - Strategies of Desire
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May 20, 2004

Strategies of Desire

Strategies of Desire
28 May - 18 July 2004

Kunsthaus Baselland
St. Jakob-Str. 170
CH-4132 Muttenz / Basel
T 0041 61 312 83 88
 F 0041 61 312 83 89
office@kunsthausbaselland.ch
opening hours: Mo closed, Tu, Thu – Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.,
Wed 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

www.kunsthausbaselland.ch

opening: Thursday, 27 May 2004, 7 p.m.

Adriana Czernin, Untitled, 2004, Courtesy Galerie Raum aktueller Kunst, Martin Janda, Vienna.

Curated by Sabine Schaschl-Cooper

Participating artists: Rita Ackermann, Martin Creed, Adriana Czernin, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Philipp Gasser, Hanspeter Hofmann, Dani Jakob/Sebastian Hammwohner/Gabriel Vormstein,Jiri Kowanda, Reto Leibundgut, Claudia & Julia Muller, Boris Ondreicka, Motohiko Odani, Simon Periton, Peter Pommerer, Hugues Reip, Glen Rubsamen, Sam Samore, Andro Wekua

Today there is an incredible amount of hype surrounding the notion of desire, one of our strongest emotions. Desire is both a marketable commodity and a fundamental human need expressed in many different ways. We yearn for love, friendship, a lifestyle we have grown accustomed to, glory and honor, success, remote places, adventure, change, paradise on earth, etc. There is arguably no other emotion that runs such a wide gamut. Desire, as pointed out by philosopher Ernst Bloch, is the only truly honest human condition. Desire responds to a perceived void in all its sincerity and attempts to fill this void. The definition of void, however, frequently remains vague. Italian star conductor Ricardo Muti, in an interview on the occasion of the New Year’s Concert he performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, recently stated that desire is ubiquitous. When asked what he yearned for he simply replied “I yearn for everything!” Desire engulfs two contradictory poles: While one part of this emotion addresses something ambiguous and evasive, the other part is more focused and knows exactly what the object of desire actually is. On the one hand, we long for an indefinite thing, on the other hand, that longing may sometimes be quite targeted. Psychologist Matthias Vogt also argues that desire concerns both the past and the future-retrospections and visions are inherent elements. “While desire geared towards the past expresses itself as nostalgia, desire geared towards the future expresses itself as utopia”, concludes writer Paolo Bianchi.

Artists are considered highly desire-prone. Here is what psychoanalyst and art technologist Mario Erdheim has to say: “Artists do not content themselves with what they have already recognized; they leave known structures and break new ground, or they destroy known structures and put objects in new contexts”. Yearning for whatever is new and fresh, for the work to be created next, and the obsession to take on this challenge time and again-artistic activity encompasses both of these facets.

The international group show “Strategies of Desire” highlights works inspired by the power of desire that articulate this emotion both within and outside their genuine process of creation. Which contemporary desires can be identified, and which strategies can be devised to illustrate them? This restlessness, which tends to appear out of the blue, catching us off-guard in our everyday lives, may also be described as “our soul’s longing for faraway places”. It becomes the object of investigation and is thus a reflection of the societies in which we live.

A Catalogue of the exhibition with essays by Sabine Schaschl-Cooper, Paolo Bianchi, Rein Wolfs, Rolf Bismarck and Claudia Spinelli will be published by Revolver – Archiv fur aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt / Main, ISBN 3-937577-73-4, EUR 15,- / CHF 22,-.

Kunsthaus Baselland
St. Jakob-Str. 170
CH-4132 Muttenz / Basel
T 0041 61 312 83 88
F 0041 61 312 83 89
office@kunsthausbaselland.ch www.kunsthausbaselland.ch

opening hours: Mo closed, Tu, Thu – Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wed 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

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