Peace or Never—Next Generation Graduation Exhibition

Peace or Never—Next Generation Graduation Exhibition

Institute Art Gender Nature, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW

Sebastian Crispin Altermatt in collaboration with Leoni Voegelin, naughty lil Thomas, 2022. Photo: Christian Knörr.

August 31, 2022
Peace or Never—Next Generation Graduation Exhibition
Institute Art Gender Nature, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW
Freilager-Platz 1
4002 Basel
Instagram / Facebook

Curators: Fernanda Brenner and Chus Martínez
Curatorial assistant: Tabea Rothfuchs  
Technical partner: Tweaklab
Media partner: Radio X

With “Peace or Never, this year’s graduation exhibition of the bachelor and master students, the Institute Art Gender Nature, FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel becomes the guest of the Kunsthaus Baselland for the seventh time. The presentation of new works by over forty emerging artists in a leading art institution is here supported by the special nature of the graduation exhibition itself in the education of artists, who are transitioning from the sensitive environment of the art academy to the challenges of working as professional artists. To emphasize this unique set of conditions, each year a renowned guest curator is invited to curate the exhibition together with Chus Martínez, head of the Institute Art Gender Nature. Our 2022 guest curator is Fernanda Brenner, a curator and writer based in São Paulo and Brussels.

“Peace or Never.” We compose this title as an homage, and as a way of creating some nearness, to the Ukrainian-born Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector (1920–1977). She often reflected on the logic of the ultimatum and the negation. “There was the never and there was the yes,” she once wrote in The Hour of the Star (1977). “I do not know why, but I do know that the universe never began.” If we mostly blackmail out of desperation, so we mostly do it to those we love the most. We say: “You better commit or you will never see me again.” What we mean is: “Please love me and never leave me alone.” Yes, peace or never. Peace or please never start a war, never. Peace or please protect the lives of all, human and nonhuman. Peace or never face us all with choices that make no sense, choices that disrupt the most precious value, that is, life. There are many wars. All wars are monstrous and all lives valuable. Peace or never, then.

This, what you are about to see, is a graduation exhibition. It brings together the works of those students finishing their third-year bachelor and second-year master degrees at the Institute Art Gender Nature HGK FHNW in Basel. Graduation exhibitions constellate two forces: art education and art practice. So linked, they create an extremely interesting space in which to address the values that we wish to fill our futures, and our future peace. Here, violence has no place, no justification, no practice. It may seem idealistic to say that art and its communities of practitioners constitute a vaccine against war. But we would stress this, again and again, for how unrealistic is it to separate the realms of life and art on one side, and the logics of greed and war, on the other. Indeed, life functions only by interconnectedness and mutuality. And we claim that the task of art is to maintain this flow, to stay fully engaged in all the aspects of a sensorial life. Probably that is the reason why art was invented, to prevent life from stopping. Remember that the discovery that a simple stick could be turned into a weapon coincided with the mesmerizing apparition of paintings of animals in caves. So, there is a reason to affirm the value of art and artists as preservers of life.

Exhibitions that emerge from collective energies of being, like the graduation exhibition discussed here, are difficult to summarize. Are there traits that allow us to “read” sequels of the pandemic or generational traits? We hope not. Art materials, artistic languages, and contemporary practices are not data. They do not reveal statistic tendencies of our now. Artists evolve from their own stories, logic, and understanding of their practices. They do not only “respond” to the demands of the present. This is a very good trait. There are enough disciplines, tools, and methods out there “responding” to the now—as media languages and their corporations frame it. What we need is exactly this delay, between the real and ourselves in order to see and reflect on our expectations, hopes, grief.

You will see in this exhibition many versions of the real, myriad manners of expressing confidence in art. Why are we calling it a collective exhibition? Many times when you go to an art venue you are faced with the term “group show.” Normally this implies that the curators selected works to compose an exhibition that revolves around a specific subject. Ours is a different story. Like in a large international exhibition—a biennial, say, or a Documenta—the artists participating have defined a new work for this event. It is not arrogant to compare the methods of big international exhibitions with this one, since the main difference is that here all the participating artists are also graduating students. And this is no reason to consider their efforts in producing new works less important than the efforts of more experienced artists. The result is the same: the day that the exhibition is ready for you—our beloved audience—is also the first day that all participating artists see the works of their fellow participants. This implies trust, and an enormous confidence and joy in the work of the community they are part of. They all know it is worth it to share these works and space in this particular context and time. Too, one becomes witness to a very emotional moment in their lives, the magical trespass between being an art student and an artist, forever. This is a mutual contract between all of them and us. Peace or never. That is, peace forever.

We extend our gratitude to Kunsthaus Baselland, its director Ines Goldbach, and her team, for collaborating with us to host our graduation exhibition for the seventh time. We would also like to thank the entire team of the Institute Art Gender Nature for their guidance and support, and, last but not least, we thank all the participating artists for their brilliant works, their trust in us and themselves, and the continuous exchange.

—Fernanda Brenner and Chus Martínez

Participating Artists

Sebastian Crispin Altermatt
Marisabel Arias
Colin Benjamin Barth & Jonas Huldi
Cécile Baumgartner Vizkelety
Raffaela Boss
carolina brunelli
Wren Cellier
Dimitra Charamandas
Charles Benjamin Desotto
Yana Dyl
Valentin Egli
Hana El-Sagini
Hannah Maria Furgal
Sebastian Gisi
Janosch von Graffenried
Silas Heizmann
Charlotte Horn
Golnaz Hosseini
Vianne Houlmann
Maria Ionescu
Ana Jikia
Diego Kohli
Minh Noah Krattiger
Benjamin Lenz
Josefina Leon Ausejo
Claire Megumi Masset
Anna Meisser
Milena Mihajlović
Manuela Libertad Morales Délano
Anita Mucolli
Sinai Mutzner
Joan Pallé
Kiki Pavlović / Demonbaby2222
Paula Santomé
Benoît Schmidt
Moa Sjöstedt
Fabio Sonego
Lukas Roman Stäuble
Ruben Stauffer
Fabienne Stucki
Jessica Voelke
Kateryna Vysoka
Victoria Wicki
Jack Young
Severin Zbinden

The Institute Art Gender Nature of the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel is dedicated to visual arts education. About one hundred students are part of the three-year bachelor’s and a two-year master’s program. Embracing nature and social justice lie at the core of our curricula. We further organize a varied schedule of events, including international symposia, a series of discursive events entitled “Art Taaalkssss,” and an art commission program open to the public. We understand the mission of art and artists as an essential contribution toward imagining and experiencing freedom and possible social futures. Friendly collaborations with foundations such as TBA21–Academy allow us to expand our aims and learn ways of understanding the oceans from activists and scientists.

In seven BA and four MA programs, the FHNW Academy of Art and Design educates the next generation of critically minded and accomplished designers, artists, and educators. In addition, the Academy’s portfolio includes a PhD program for graduate students in collaboration with the University of Art and Design Linz, as well as a comprehensive research portfolio. Its professional infrastructure including workshops, multifunctional performance spaces, 24/7 accessible atelier facilities, a media library, and highly specialized photography, video, and sound studios, provides excellent conditions on the campus at Dreispitz Basel. Through collaborations with other institutions and through own initiatives, the FHNW Academy of Art and Design is actively involved in Basel’s rich cultural life and contributes to its vibrancy.

The Kunsthaus Baselland is among the leading exhibition venues for regional, national and international contemporary art in the Basel region. The curatorial program is focused on contemporary art in the Basel region which is positioned within an international discourse through accompanying international and national exhibitions.

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Institute Art Gender Nature, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW
August 31, 2022

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