Three artists from three different regions and cultures, pose questions about civil liberties. They each use a different medium. Johan Creten brings new works in bronze, among which a one and a half meters high and two meters wide version of 'The Price of Freedom, presented for the first time in Europe. Khalili presents a conceptual photographic work that imposes conditions upon the relationship with the owner of the work. Zvyagintseva invests existing objects with a political message. She shows, among other works, a small prison cell made of fabric, a work that was also presented in 2015 at the Venice Biennial.
In accordance with the artist’s desire to generate contradictory interpretations, this sculpture can be seen as the symbol of power and strength, the heraldic animal of many empires; at the same time it can also be understood as a bird covered with oil, fragile and vulnerable. In this piece, different ideologies - ecological and political, individual and multiple, evil and holy - come together. [Nicola Trezzi in the Wall Street Journal, 26-8-2015]
In the course of history, the eagle has often stood as a symbol of power, with the Nazi era as an absolute low point. Although eagles stand for freedom in American legends, they also symbolize power and authority. With his work ‘The Price of Freedom’ Creten points to the danger of this shift in symbolic meaning. [Elien Haentjens, 2013]
Unlike the eagle which functions as a symbol of freedom in American legends, in Indo-European cultures, the eagle represents very different, often contradictory symbolic values. Sometimes it is an expression of power that no longer guarantees individual freedoms (expression, property, etc.). Creten warns us against reappropriating these kinds of symbols. [Ludovic Recchia, 2007]
The Artwork is a photograph that contains a contract that speaks in the name of the artwork.
The main premise of this work is the question of boycotting, more precisely: can an artwork boycott? And can we take seriously what the artwork is trying to say? Creating a situation in which the artwork demands the boycott of the institution it refuses to be exhibited in, owned or collected by.
The Artwork is a photograph (79 x 120 cm) which contains the contract that has been drawn up by Dr. Martin Heller, a Berlin-based lawyer who specializes in art-related issues.
The contract, even though it is written in legal terms and wording, does not stand up when presented in a legal context. Its failure is due to the fact that the artwork itself cannot speak in a legal sense, it cannot be part of the contract, it cannot speak for itself, only the artist can speak for it, which is why this contract fails to represent the artwork in itself. The contract creates a kind of legal and ethical paradox.
The project aims to investigate the boundaries between law and justice, how justice cannot be expressed through law, and how law becomes a language that includes and excludes subjects according to its own regulations and structures.
The photograph contains the contract the artwork speaks through, stating its clear demands on the way in which it can be exhibited, collected, and owned. However, whoever exhibits, collects, or owns this artwork can decide whether to obey these demands and conditions or not, depending on whether they take the artwork seriously, or not.
The work has been produced with the great help and assistance of Dr. Martin Heller.
Anna Zvyagintseva is presenting a cage made of fabric—a knitted cage. In Ukrainian courtrooms there is always a cage in which a person is forced to sit if he or she is considered dangerous. The process of knitting, here, is a metaphor for the time that is taken away from activists by the court system, even if they are not imprisoned. So the work is about time, and about soft repression, too. [Alexander Scrimgeour in Artforum, Oct. 2010]
'The cage' object has the form and size of a standard cage for a defendant in a court hall. This cage, however, is made of knitted fabric, as if it were made with a crochet hook. This work acts as a reminder of the criminal prosecution of social activists in the Ukraine today. Artists were forced to be present at lots of court meetings together with other public representatives so as to make the court processes transparent and attract public attention. Knitting is a metaphor for the time spent in court, which can be seen as form of punishment in its own right because of the undetermined duration of the proceedings. The soft material with which the cage is knitted provides a certain kind of comfort against the everyday repression for those who don’t have any alternative.
Friday up until Sunday 14h - 18h
from April 17th to May 21th by appontment