Communities, or the Promise of Happiness

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Andreas Baur
Texts (German/English) by Andreas Baur, Julia Herrmann, Johannes Kaufmann, Anka Wenzel
248 p with 134 coloured illustrations
280 x 240 mm, softcover

ISBN 978-3-86442-276-8

39,80 €

»Communitiy presumes deprivation«

This stated the daily Esslinger Zeitung with a headline for the opening of the superbe show »Good Space«. The show is a playfully sensory and experi­entially intensive exhibition essay, focuses on the formation of communities from perspectives of contemporary art. Social diversity arises, through exchange, the cohesion of societies is characterized by a unifying element, whether this is shared­ values or concepts of identity, whether it consists of norms or of rules. But also inherent to mutual connection is always an aspect of delimitation and exclusion. The question as to what constitutes the sense of »we« is loaded with explosive power – also with ­regard to politics. So the works of art navigate along power structures with an eye to the grave and the pervasive consequences of colonialism; also coming into play are configurations of space and time in which technology and spirituality intersect; the works ask for the idea that our life is free, self-determined and filled with possibilities of self-fulfilment and put this to question with regard to its supposedly universal promise of happiness; they call for an unconditional respect for the rights of animals, whereby the underlying relationship be­tween people and animals comes to the fore as well as light is shed on the connection between culture and nature with an inspection of plant communities; they also do witness scenes of paradoxical relationship in residential concepts of buildings designed by Brutalism; they direct our attention to the fact that films engender vivid communal experiences not just in the screening room; and we ­accompany the tiny, isolated community of the crew on a submarine. The exhibition essay conceives of itself as the call for a cooperative stance character­ised by curiosity, respect and mutual esteem, one which constantly redefines needs and negotiates differences. In 2016 »Good Space« dealt with space and waste land, now, 2019 »Good Space« enters into the question how to vitalize this space and how communities function, because the political atmosphere did not change singnificantly only by the migration debate.

Martha Atienza, Fatma Bucak, Melanie Gilligan, Mikhail Karikis, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, ­Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Gabriela ­Oberkofler, Katrin Plavcak, ­Tabita Rezaire, Julika Rudelius, Lin May Saeed, Rob Voerman, Alberto Zamora Ruiz

Villa Merkel Galerien der Stadt Esslingen, Merkelpark, Hallen der Königl. Württ. Eisenbahnwerkstätten; 2/6–1/9/2019