As ArtForum dedicates its current issue to gazing back at the events of May 1968 I have noticed a decidely C21st runnel being formed around issues and languages of space, E.T's, alchemy, the Middle Ages, ecological catastrophe and other related topics by exhibition curators recently. The following is a list of exhibitions which have happened or are about to happen since February of this year which seem to relate to this territory in some way:
THE END WAS YESTERDAY- Part II
at kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria
May 31 - June 22 2008
THE END WAS YESTERDAY – PART II brings together an international group of 19 contemporary artists depicting various post-apocalyptic phenomena. The exhibition takes place in a world which has already come to an end and deals with the state between apocalypse and an immediate attempt of reorientation.
ECPLIPSE: ART IN A DARK AGE.
Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
31 May - 24 August, 2008
The artists in Eclipse work with installation, sculpture, performance, video projection and painting, exploring and portraying fields that are irrational, dark or politically incorrect. Several of them have a fascination for the absurd sides of life, resulting in refreshingly humorous works. Existential issues concerning the conditions of mankind are the starting-point.
11th May – 10th August 2008
CCA Kunsthalle, Majorca; Spain
Our idealistic concepts of nature are proving to be archaic, and we are re-awakening to a new version of nature. The exhibition SUPERNATURAL reflects the vision of a nature strangely altered through cross-pollination with popular culture, technology and romanticism. While "nature" refers to both real and fictional ideas of nature, "super" relates to constructed images, artifice, utopia or to scientific research.
Life on Mars
the 2008 Carnegie International
May 3, 2008 - January 11, 2009
Are we alone in the universe? Do aliens exist? Or are we, ourselves, strangers in our
Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International explores the important yet continually perplexing question of what it means to be human in the world today. “The thematic premise behind the show has to do with the idea of the intimate moments in our daily lives that we miss by walking through our worlds and not seeing what is right in front of us. It also has to do with the more infinite sense of being part of the larger universe and finding ourselves on the inside and looking out.” says Fogle. “The art world itself is Mars, and the best contemporary art asks you more questions than you sometimes have answers for.”
GOD & GOODS. Spirituality and Mass Confusion
Villa Manin Centre for Contemporary Art
20.04. - 28.09.2008
GOD & GOODS. Spirituality and Mass Confusion aims to open a dialogue with the topic of religion being it an immense, controversial and unresolved debate but also a concept open to new and diverse forms of interpretation.
The works of the twenty-eight artists in the exhibition underline existential questions, play with the senses and perception of reality and challenge in some cases the mechanisms of beliefs. Art looks at religion from an outside perspective: it can expose the evocative power of an image as well as relate the mythology of consumer goods to holy iconography.
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
April 12 - July 13, 2008
UCCA’s first international exhibition introduces six artists from Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia whose works--spanning from sculpture and installation, to performance, collage, drawing, photography and video--are breathing new life into the contemporary art world. As the show’s title suggests, the artists are in the process of transforming how the mediums in which they work are typically understood, letting material processes influence the outcomes of their experiments.
Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art
Barbican Art Gallery
6 Mar-18 May/08
Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art presents contemporary art works under the fictional rubric of a museum collection conceived by and designed for extraterrestrials. This ambitious, playful and irreverent exhibition features over 100 artists and more than 175 works, primarily sculptures along with mixed media, video, photography and works on paper.
This exhibition is partly inspired by the first chapter of Thierry de Duve"s Kant after Duchamp, in which an imaginary anthropologist from outer space sets out to inventory "all that is called art by humans". Adopting a pseudo-anthropological approach, the Museum employs eccentric taxonomies and surprising juxtapositions. The fictitious Martian perspective opens up contemporary art to fresh interpretations and allows for its reassessment from an alien standpoint, thus mimicking the way that Western anthropologists historically interpreted non-Western cultures through foreign eyes. Looking at contemporary art as though from outer space offers the potential to make the familiar strange and to turn the dominant Euro-American art tradition into the "Other". It also raises pertinent questions about the use and value of contemporary art in human culture.
Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy
29 February - 18 May 2008
"As rockets go to the moon the darkness around the Earth grows deeper and darker"
GREENWASHING presents the work of 25 international artists and artist-groups whose practice suggests that the literalism embedded in old-fashioned concepts such as 'environmentalism' and 'nature' is not equipped to comprehend the ecological territory of our time. Today we negotiate an evermore urgent and pervasive ecological (and thereby cultural, political, social and economic) arena that is darkly shadowed by potentially catastrophic ecosystemic collapse.
*Note: the short descriptions after each exhibition are taken from their respective websites or e-flux notices etc.