How do we want to be governed? - This question was brought up by the late Michel Foucault almost a quarter of a century ago. At around that time the Western welfare-state was showing first signs of erosion, and although nobody could have foreseen it, the Soviet Empire was also on the brink of collapse. If one takes a look at Lorenzetti's frescoes in Siena's town hall, dating from the late middle-ages and depicting the Good and the Bad Government, the question might have an even longer history. A common feature in Foucault's thinking, Lorenzetti's painting, and the actual exhibition is to conceive of government as an indirect use of power. In other words we are less concerned with the spectacular varieties of immediate action such as state-power affecting citizens or non-citizens directly. Rather, and more abstractly, The Government pays attention to actions that act upon other actions (upon the actions of others). The ongoing "war against terror" for instance generates day by day new states of exception. The precarisation of work, to give another example, helps to dismantle people's solidarity. To our deepest regret, government by indirect means works all too well.
But government is much more than just another subject to be taken up by an exhibition; it also provides the exhibition with its particular form. Much like a three-dimensional film, extending itself in time and space, and thereby inserting the spectator in its unfolding, this exhibition builds upon changing constellations of artworks acting upon each other. The aim is to illuminate (and con-template) relationality in its diverse aspects. In geopolitical terms, this might mean to relate areas to each other which like the Basque Country and Jerusalem have nothing in common apart from their failure to overcome a certain political rationality: the inhibition to imagine a shared sovereignty. In terms of aesthetics, relationality takes on another mean-ing: works of diverging methodological and artistic background are shown to communicate with each other through the medium of the exhibition.
Roger M. Buergel and Ruth Noack, in cooperation with Antke Engel and Jorge Ribalta
and Nina Brodowski, Larissa Buchholz, Miren Etxezzareta, Marlene Heidel, Sonja Parzefall, Sophia Prinz, Joan Roca i Albert, Diethelm Stoller, Polina Stroganova, Wanda Wieczorek and Ulf Wuggenig.
Ibon Aranberri (Bilbao), Maja Bajevic (Paris), Archive Tucumán Arde (advised by Graciela Carnevale; in cooperation with Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann), Alice Creischer (Berlin), Danica Dakic (Düsseldorf), filmy by Maya Deren, Ines Doujak (Vienna), Patrick Faigenbaum (Paris), Harun Farocki (Berlin), Peter Friedl, Andrea Geyer (New York), films by Jean-Luc Godard, Dmitry Gutov (Moskau), Sanja Ivekovic (Zagreb), Emily Jacir (Ramallah/New York), Jocelyne Lemaire-Darnaud (Le Pré Saint Gervais), Rainer Oldendorf (Paris), Lisl Ponger (Vienna), Florian Pumhösl (Vienna), Alejandra Riera (Paris), Martha Rosler, Dierk Schmidt (Berlin), Allan Sekula (Los Angeles), Andreas Siekmann (Berlin), Simon Wachsmuth (Berlin), and others.
Website conception, production and support
THE GOVERNMENT is sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (Government Foundation), and supported by the Allianz Kulturstiftung (Allianz Foundation) and the Verein fuer Zeitgenoessische Kunst Lueneburg (Association of Contemporary Art, Lueneburg).
THE GOVERNMENT is produced by the Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg in cooperation with Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Wiener Secession (Vienna) and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art Rotterdam.
- - -