“Rehearsals in Instability” at Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna
Maja ?ule, Emily Jones, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Richard Nikl, Charlie Woolley
2015’s Curated by_vienna takes as it’s premise an accelerationist view of our present, that we may be in a sci-fi moment of capitalism (that is, witnessing its ruin). That we may be standing on a precipice, tipping its delicate balance towards something seductive—a moment of foreplay with a post-capitalist future. This view, this hope or promise put forward by 2015’s curatorial topic, suggests that “post-capitalism” is in our grasp perhaps through some of the propositions presented in recent artistic practices.
There is no doubt that capitalism as we conventionally know it is shifting; yet in its increasing financialisation it does not become any less real. Extreme disparity between rich and poor is rife, and oppression and exploitation of workers are still the markers of industrialisation across the world. Globalisation does not reverse the nation state, Schengen is more apparition than reality, or at the very least it’s awaiting possible liquidation.
No matter how much flipping happens, or how much the role of viewer shifts, ‘The Institution’ still plays the pivotal role in deciding the historic value of artists. Capitalism is as it always was: a reproductive social contract, it just has more places to occupy, and forms to take on—be that communicative, affective, cognitive, algorithmic, and so on.
For the exhibition “Rehearsals in Instability” at Galerie Andreas Huber we ask, what do we believe in? The possibilities opened up by the realisation that Fukyama’s end of history is even doubted by the banks (that, following from Srnicek, the loans aren’t doled out and the future as realistically capitalist is not so convincing) are dampened by the reality of living in a late capitalism that has stuffed every crease in society, every alternative to it, with its insatiable reproducing form. Thus, we doubt that capitalism provides a future, yet we are uncertain of how we might move out of it.
This exhibition presents specific works by artists that prompt or extrapolate on this seeping feeling of disbelief in the current state of capitalism, and rising awareness of the unsustainability of this world. Disbelief in something, as opposed to critique, is important: not only because it delegitimises, but also because it nods to the additional concern of how to oppose, or move beyond.
Traditional opposition as inbuilt into, or absorbed by, capitalist economy—is evident in the work of Charlie Woolley, which takes stereotypical countercultural motifs, and shows these as reified images and objects for consumption in contemporary lifestyles. We question further patterns of absorbency, or how systems are entwined, when viewing the work of Emily Jones, whose work All power emanates from the people. strips the context and disposition from a set of words; in a sense pulling apart one tangle of aesthetics and politics, to reveal additional associations. In one gesture
the work both mystifies and de-codifies the artist’s found text.
Both Maja ?ule and Sidsel Meineche Hansen examine labour and how it forms the subject and our relations. In showing the specific labours that thrive in a post-2008 economy we are made more aware of their worrying ridiculousness. In turn Christopher Kulendran Thomas and Richard Nikl adopt some of the production processes of these new forms of labour—demonstrating at once the fragility as well as the evolution of production and distribution,
and how it comfortably manifests as the environment or fabric of our society.
These artists destabilise images of our contemporary moment by showing it as a pervasive architecture, but one with cracks.
Curated by Rózsa Zita Farkas
until 7 November, 2015
“Rehearsals in Instability” installation views at Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna, 2015