Database > Exhibition / Event > Freedom will have been an episode

Freedom will have been an episode

06.03.2020 - 31.05.2020

Austrian Cultural Forum, New York / United States

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is pleased to present its spring exhibition Freedom will have been an Episode. Developed in cooperation with Universalmuseum Joanneum, the group show does not intend to proclaim the end of freedom, but rather means to contemplate the creeping social upheaval that has taken place in recent years. Following in the footsteps of pioneering Austrian painter, performance artist, experimental filmmaker, and writer Günter Brus (*1938), four emerging artists and collectives from Austria have developed new site-specific installations that engage with what freedom means today in art and society....

In the 1960s, when Günter Brus co-founded the seminal avant-garde art movement Viennese Actionism and challenged Austrian society with his taboo-breaking and often illegal performances, freedom was considered a precious commodity that had to be defended against any form of restriction. In the last decades, these hard-won freedoms have been increasingly undermined by the economy of hedonism and the efficiency of neo-liberalism. People are no longer disciplined by force and violence but are galvanized into self-optimization. This “technology of the self,” in the words of Michel Foucault, is nothing but an efficient form of domination and exploitation. Freedom has become a form of coercion, argues philosopher Byung-Chul Han, from whose book Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power (2017) the title of this exhibition derives.

Society and art have changed considerably in the decades since Brus started his “actions.” For this show, curator Roman Grabner contrasts Brus’ works with new artistic voices from Austria that challenge the norm and explore what it means today to break free from convention and defy the system, to be a foreign body in society and to analyze its power structures. [...]

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last modified at 25.08.2020

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