Always different, always the same. An Essay about Art and Systems

Cat. Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Lynn Kost
texts (German/English) by Walead Beshty, Francis Halsall, Lynn Kost, Stephan Kunz, Dieter Schwarz and with an extensive glossary
240 p with 150 coloured illustrations
270 x 210 mm, softcover with dustjacket

ISBN: 978-3-86442-255-3

48,00 €

What is Minimal?

During the 1960s, the art world’s interest in systems grew quite conspicuously. It ran parallel to the social upheavals and the fundamentally critical view of the system by the ’68 movement. Rather more consequential, from today’s point of view, were the technological advances. The development of cybernetics, communication networks and ­computer systems facilitated extensive networks as well as powerful data processing and turned the exchange of information into an important social and economic factor. The exhibition and this publication con­sider art of the 1960s and early 1970s with regard to systems thinking, and conceive it as communi­cation and as a critique of the system. It is above all the works of Minimal Art and Conceptual Art that dealt with the principles of linguistic communication systems and thereby with differentia­tions and repetitions. Further significant features ­included semiotics, serialism, regularity and the contextualization of the architectural and institu­tional environment. The works formally used the principles of systems think­ing, to then debate them in terms of content. The viewers had to take up position both spatially and intellectually, and thus turned into significant parts of the works. Fifty years later, systems thinking is more existent than ever, and through digitization it has become indispen­sable in our understanding of industrial societies. Complex systems create ­networks of knowledge, evaluate data, control ­information flows and determine decision-making and production processes. They form our environment in which we mainly strive to achieve system compatibility, availability and scope. The exhibition and publication show ­representative works of the 1960s and 1970s in combination with contem­porary art that examines nowadays systemically ­im­portant issues around the nature of processes, data processing, infor­mation distortion and system compatibility. Digital systems and software are as much tools for these contemporary artists as the principles of systemized thinking. Both influence and control their formal and content-related decisions while they create new works. They frequently address just this ­dependency on systems and codes and thus make their mode of operation ­visible. The book and the exhibition »Always ­Different, Always the Same« form an open art-historical reference system and provide a variety of cross-references between the different works of art and decades. Important topics on the relation­ship between subject, object, perception and the environment are thus made ­tangible: always different and yet always the same.

!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Carl Andre, Art & Language, John Baldessari, Walead Beshty, Stanley Brouwn, Peter Buggenhout, Angela Bulloch, Hanne Darboven, Matias Faldbakken, Corsin Fontana, Wade ­Guyton, Bethan Huws, Iman Issa, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Yves Klein, Sol LeWitt, Piero Manzoni, Robert Morris, Charlotte Prodger, Ad Reinhardt, Michael Riedel, Robert Ryman, Jan Schoonhoven, Frank Stella, ­Sturtevant, Rémy Zaugg

Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur, 30/6 – 11/11/2018