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We are publishing our photo tour of the exhibition in the ZKM to provide an impression of the constellations in which many interesting works were brought together, which we hope will help those who can't travel to Karlsruhe to form their own judgment.
But some of the project's essential curatorial approaches did not come across to us. The title The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds After 1989 expresses an enormous ambition from the beginning that could never have been fulfilled. But when a "1989 geopolitical turn" is taken as a starting point, the question is unavoidable: Isn't this an extension of the Eurocentric perspective? For in many of the world regions that the artists come from, this date does not play such a key role at all. And one can also wonder why, in the documentation and in the exhibition itself, the role of the Internet as a medium of communication and information and as a means of artistic practice is so neglected.
Not all continents have to be represented equally, of course, when a "new kind of art…that is expanding around the globe" is to be presented. But it is incomprehensible why the curators have only marginally perceived entire regions, although extremely important contributions to contemporary art have come from them over the last 20 years. This goes in particular for Latin America and the art scenes of the Middle East and the Maghreb, which for quite some time have been well known for their great dynamism.
Pat Binder & Gerhard Haupt
Editors of Universes in Universe
Press release by the organizers:
Globalization as a phase in the geo-political transformation of the world is at once a transformation of art – of the conditions of its production, and possibilities of its diffusion and dissemination and presence. At the same time, artists, and above all the institutions of art – large-scale exhibitions, museums, the art market – are faced with questions as to the extent to which the concept "global" can and must be thought – and how this reflects back on its own methods of working. By means of documentary materials and artistic approaches, the exhibition The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds after 1989 will examine the way in which globalization, both with its pervasive mechanisms of the market and its utopias of networking and generosity, impacts upon the various spheres of artistic production and reception.
This critical analysis of the key institutions and dispositives of the art world seeks to illustrate the manner in which globalization has both shaped and itself become a theme in artistic production that intentionally creates and reviews its own conditions and parameters. With The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds after 1989 the ZKM | Karlsruhe, as a utopian "factory" and work place in the best sense of the meaning, itself plans to thematize these conditions, which also influence everyday life beyond the art world: to make the museum itself a site of contemporaneity – a place in which local experiences of time subvert the unity of the new "universal time".
The conception and design of the exhibition forms part of the research project "Global Art and the Museum" (GAM), co-initiated by Hans Belting and Peter Weibel at the ZKM in 2006. Over the past two years, a network of protagonists and key institutions within the global art scene was established, which was then consolidated and extended by way of several seminars and conferences in both Karlsruhe and abroad. The ensuing discourse, captured in two publications and an extensive Website, thus constitutes the thematic framework of the exhibition, and through experimental implementation in The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds after 1989 is then reflected back into the GAM project. This academic, experimental examination of the art system, also remains decisive for the exhibition itself. Thus, the exhibition's self-reflective dimension becomes one of its fundamental features, as underscored by a specially organized residency program and the work on art mediation. To this end, more than twelve international artists have been invited to discuss the issues surrounding The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds after 1989, and to help throw critical light on the exhibition's concepts. This critical discussion will take place in a particular place within the exhibition by the setting up of a "studio" in which visitors, mediators and artists realize artistic-educative projects, workshops and temporary presentations, and thus together help shape and co-author The Global Contemporary. Lastly, the critical, scholarly discourse initiated at the inception of the GAM project will be pursued throughout the course of the exhibition before being published in a comprehensive catalog.
Today, all attempts to cover the process of globalization in its entirety can only ever provide a snapshot-like depiction of a temporary state. To account for this situation, the project The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds after 1989 singles out various thematic fields, such as: 'The Global Turn. 1989 and its Consequences', 'Contemporaneity', 'Visual Worlds. Art and the Migration of Pictures' and 'Art history. The End of a Canon', 'Strategies of Representation in Art', 'Art and Politics', 'The Art Market' or 'Identities in the Art System'. The artistic, as well as the documentary analyses and presentations of these thematic fields are to be understood as pro tempore views of a whole in a state of continual movement, thus facilitating the critical reflective discussion of its own perspectives.
Andrea Buddensieg, Peter Weibel
Jacob Birken, Antonia Marten
N'Goné Fall, Patrick D. Flores, Carol Lu, Jim Supangkat
Curator for art mediation:
Kuehn Malvezzi with Samuel Korn