Who was Prometheus and what does his liberation have to do with reorientation in the modern-day chaos of world views? In their works for this year’s herbst exhibition, artists explore Eurocentric thinking and invite the audience to open their eyes to new parameters of thought when they look at the world.
With Jonathas De Andrade (BR), Lothar Baumgarten (DE), Yervant Gianikian / Angela Ricci Lucchi (IT), Friedemann von Stockhausen (DE), Clemens von Wedemeyer (DE), Aimée Zito Lema (AR/NL)
Curated by Luigi Fassi (IT)
Lothar Baumgarten Ursprung der Nacht (102 mins., no language) / Jonathas De Andrade O peixe [The Fish] (37 mins., no langugage)
Aimée Zito Lema Rond de Jambe
Prometheus, the “bringer of culture” who stole fire from the gods to give it to mankind, has been regarded since ancient times as the creator of civilisation with its constant search for scientific, political and intellectual innovations. This Titan, who was chained to a rock in punishment for his sacrilegious theft, became a symbolic figure of western modernity that sees progress and functionalism as core values. Values that formed the basis of the long prevalent belief in the alleged superiority of Europe over other cultures. This faith in progress is also a pillar of the western understanding of history, as codified by the Enlightenment and German Idealism in the 18th and 19th century.
This year’s herbst exhibition, curated by Luigi Fassi, asks to what extent this western perception of history and progress is still appropriate today. Prometheus has long cast off the shackles of Eurocentrism and has fled to an open field where historiography is no longer dictated by what was supposed to be the centre. Where are we now? And how did we get here? To deal with this question, the artists in the herbst exhibition explore the construction of the canon of western modernity and analyse its historical, anthropological and political perspectives, revealing the colonialist, racial and expropriating aspects of European reason. In their works they explore archives, reflect on ethnographic, social practice, analysing and commenting on historiography and formulating alternative realities.
The search for a liberated Prometheus creates room for a wide range of world views and allows us to take in different forms of knowledge and learn new systems of imagination. As such, it is a possible approach to the questions raised by steirischer herbst this year: the exhibition hints at how a host of dimensions could be added to the coordinate system as we attempt to re-define our position in this world.
Commissioned by steirischer herbst
In collaboration with Neue Galerie Graz
Project sponsors XAL, Gaulhofer Industrie-Holding GmbH, hs art service
Project supporter IFA, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen