• JAN 19 to APR 21
    Group Exhibition
    An exhibition across two cities

    Category

    • Group Exhibition
    • Contemporary
    • Emerging Artists

    Dates and Opening hours

    JAN 19 to APR 21, 2013

    Event Location

    Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA)

    350 Sauchiehall Street
    Glasgow
    United Kingdom

    View website

    Artists

    • Andrea Fraser
    • Andreas Gursky
    • Angela Melitopoulos
    • Anu Pennanen
    • Christos Georgiou
    • Claire Fontaine
    • Dani Marti
    • Dario Azzellini & Oliver Ressler
    • David Aronowitsch & Hanna Heilborn
    • Ernest Larsen & Sherry Millner

    See all artists

    Information

    In the 21st century, does the economy provide the ground zero of our sense of self? And what does this experience of a life dominated by economic relations feel or even look like? Presented at Stills in Edinburgh and CCA in Glasgow, two parallel exhibitions make the core of ECONOMY. Accompanied by film screenings, public forums and online debate, the project examines the heightened interest of art today in revealing the economy as an inescapable social truth. The artworks on show experiment with the imaginative documentation of everyday life to address issues ranging from climate change, labour conditions, sexuality, migration and the crisis of democracy to the quest for alternative futures.

    ECONOMY draws together a small selection of the many artists across the globe whose work communicates the feeling that society is undergoing a momentous transformation. Whether dealing with access to housing, everyday working conditions, sexuality or the environment, such work is shot through with the sense that something is changing. The question is: what? The two exhibitions at the centre of the ECONOMY project offer a singular answer to this question: what is changing is our relationship to the economy as a necessary response to the economy’s own transformation. In the unforgettable vision of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, all that is solid melts into air – yet again. The end of the Cold War, symbolically represented by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, generated a number of ‘turns’ in the context of contemporary art: turns to collectivism, to the making of archives, to social bonds, relations and communities, to labour, to biopolitics and the document, to struggle. This restless quest for the right ‘tag’ has been one way of saying that contemporary art is, finally, becoming new as it focuses its efforts on the exploration of the material conditions that make reality what it is.

    Post-1989 art has developed new strategies to reveal capitalism’s new frontier: ourselves. In other words, the artworks presented can each be seen to reflect upon how our lives and sense of self are shaped by and through capital’s internalised rule, from our childhood experiences to the way we labour, play and make love or war. But this hardly means that all art everywhere became preoccupied with the same issues at once. Undoubtedly, such themes have become more prevalent since the financial crisis of 2008 but this tendency can be indentified across a wide range of practices and geographic regions. This is particularly apparent in works produced in Eastern Europe, as suggested by the limited yet indicative selection showcased in ECONOMY. In this region, the shock transition to capitalism translated into an art that left no stone unturned when it came to examining the experience of economic oppression dealt out in place of the promised ‘freedom’. It is also no accident that the majority of the artists in the exhibitions are women – nor is this the result of ‘positive action’ on our part as curators. If in contemporary capitalism social experience often becomes an economic experience with a gendered face, it almost always falls to female artists to examine this perspective.

    Twenty years ago, the combination of Eastern Europe’s transition to post-socialism and China’s explosion into the markets consolidated capitalism’s rule, this time at a truly global level, following centuries of programmatic colonisations of minds, bodies and lands. The ensuing catastrophes have been met by the now equally global imperative of anti-capitalist opposition and popular insurrection. We are in a situation where both the impact of capital’s rule and the desire for exiting its deadlock define our lives. We can no longer however pretend that there is any prospect of transcending – simply as a matter of (revolutionary) course – the economic ‘asymmetries’ that we inhabit and which inhabit us. Where then do we begin?

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