Information on the ZKM exhibitions can be found in the Exhibition Archive. Over 400 exhibitions covering a broad thematic spectrum have been held since 1989: thematic exhibitions, group and solo-exhibitions, as well as installations committed to the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, to the history of culture, to past and present technology and science, as well as to contemporary socio-political questions.
A chronological list of all ZKM exhibitions is located here.
If you you need further information to a previous exhibition, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From molecular chemistry to molecular biology we stand on the treshold of a material revolution. In the 1920s, new industrial materials, such as metals, aluminium and acrylic glass were used as raw materials. Today, the developments in nanotechnology and computer-based technology enable insight into matter far beyond existing conceptions, namely into the world of molecules, atoms and subatomic particles. The “molecular revolution” (Félix Guattari, 1977) has already begun.
The installation »Molecules that changed the World« makes elementary chemical molecules such as water and carbon dioxide as well as synthetic complex molecular structures, which have an essential influence on our lives visible in stereoscopic 3D and provides background information on the origin and significance of selected molecules.
Conception: Ljiljana Fruk, Bernd Lintermann
cooperation (KIT): Ishtiaq Ahmed, Dennis Bauer, Sinem Engin, Bianca Geiseler, Dania Kendziora, Marko Miljevic, Andre Petershans, Lukas Stolzer
Graphics: Christina Zartmann
Software: Bernd Lintermann
Technique: Manfred Hauffen
Production: ZKM | Institute for Visual Media
Until today, poet, performer and antimilitarist, Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), is seen as one of the founders and most influential figures of the Beat Generation. As thematic sequel to the exhibition »the name is BURROUGHS – Expanded Media«, on show at the ZKM in 2012, »Beat Generation. Allen Ginsberg« is a multimedia, interactive presentation. The exhibition, concurrently on show in Metz, Rennes and Tourcoing, near Lille, presents the life and works of Allen Ginsberg, as well as his influence on other personalities of the Beat Generation.
In the context of the exhibition a comprehensive program will take place
Welcoming Speech by the Exhibition Creator:
This is not, in a classic sense, an exhibition, where works are hung on walls, but far more a visual and acoustic anthology; a sensuous experience, a fantastic world full of projected images and a virtual stroll through a major multicultural movement that emerged during the Second World War in New York, and which spread throughout the world from 1955 onwards. The poet Allen Ginsberg, founding father and influential figure of the Beat Generation, will serve us as cartographer and guide. He will introduce us to our friends – who he photographed at different times – and, above all, their works; in so doing, he throws light on the unique personalities of each of them.
Known and unknown films, public readings, recordings, reportage never seen before, texts, fine art, discussions, photographs and documents of all kinds... This compilation, until now, unpublished and shown here for the first time, offers an international, labyrinthine and multimedia perspective transcending the constraints of linear and didactic museum presentation.
Here, visitors are invited – without further delay – to step into the hallucinatory universe of the poets of the Beat Generation and to relive this collective and subjective adventure. Also entirely new is the simultaneous opening of four versions of the same exhibition in four European institutions of differing backgrounds: at the Centre Pompidou Metz, at the Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Le Fresnoy (Tourcoing), in the Champs Libres (Rennes) and at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. A perfect example of synergy and partnership.
Thanks to Allen Ginsberg, we can follow step for step, the literary, cultural, political, existential and intellectual controversies in which the Beat Generation were involved. It is through him that we become acquainted with and are able to newly interpret a series of masterpieces of modern literature: works by Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Peter Orlovsky and, naturally, Allen Ginsberg. One sees or hears them; one discovers their manuscripts, their drawings, their way of life, but also their commitment to the freedom of expression, and liberation from bourgeois morality; their struggle against ethnocentricity; homophobia and racial paranoia; for ecology. One may consider the pioneering role they played as writers and cosmopolitans at the center of a major international movement, which, in the 1960s, rebelled against the Vietnam War, Wall Street, the Pentagon, the atom bomb, the nuclear industry, and generally against all forms of cultural and political imperialism.
Incidentally, in his famous manifesto/poem, Howl, Ginsberg once again took up the biblical monster Moloch, which continued to cost more and more human victims. Karl Marx had already denounced Moloch as a symbol of the prevailing and aggressive capitalism. It is no mere chance that Ginsberg, Burroughs and their mutual friend Jean Genet took part in the demonstrations in Chicago, in 1968, and that a number of their young close friends used the opportunity to present a real, pink-colored and screeching pig as candidate for the American presidential elections. The spirit of Dada was, indeed, present, though all distinctions between political and artistic action had dissolved.
Furthermore, the films presented here, the discussions, the coverage, the photographs and texts especially highlight the way in which poets make reference to their predecessors and contemporaries, in particular, to the Asiatic and European: they have a close affinity with William Blake, Arthur Rimbaud, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Antonin Artaud. Throughout the course of their numerous long and productive stays in Paris, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Gysin and Corso became acquainted with Henri Michaux, Gherasim Luca, Jean Genet, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Tristan Tzara, Bernard Hiedsieck, Félix Guattari and many others. In Café Sélect, on Montparnasse, Ginsberg began his major cathartic poem Kaddish and wrote Sur la Tombe d’Apollinaire and Europe! Europe! In Paris Burroughs completed and published Le Festin Nu, Nova Express, and Corso, his poem Bomb.
It was with the Beat Generation, that the enormous worldwide movement of the counter culture emerged, for which the ‘indignant’ stands today, and from which future visionaries and utopians may draw their inspiration.”
(Jean-Jacques Lebel, April 2013)
In the 1960s, numerous artists turned away from painting with brush on canvas: They sought alternatives to the spontaneous, emotional expressive forms of the 1950s, such as Tachism, abstract Expressionism and Informel. The various paths let to Op Art, Kinetic Art, Minimal Art and conceptual art. In a certain sense, Manfred Mohr is one of the most radical painters of the period: in 1969 he had already opted for the use of the computer as an artistic medium. The machine fulfilled the yearning for rationality, precision and conceptualization of artistic work opened up the horizon for formal experiments of hitherto unknown complexity. On the occasion of his 75th birthday, the ZKM is dedicating a retrospective to the Pforzheim-born, New York-based artist in the form of a representative selection of works and numerous documents from his archive.
Mohr discovered the use of electronic calculating machines for the production of artistic works by way of the French pioneer of computer-generated music, Pierre Barbaud, with whom he became acquainted in Paris, in 1967. For Mohr, then not only a fine artist, but also a jazz musician, computer art represented an answer to the question as to how in art the principle of systematic, musical notation can be realized. The idea of a rational art had already fascinated Mohr in the early the 1960s, when first encountering the ideas of the philosopher Max Bense. He then learned programming autodidactically, managing to gain access to a computer and plotter at the Météorologie Nationale, the French national institute for meteorology. In 1971, a solo-exhibition of his work was held at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. This was the first museum solo-exhibition of works by an artist whose works were produced and drawn exclusively by means of a fully automatic digital computer. Over the forty years that followed, Mohr went on to create a comprehensive formal vocabulary which he realized not only in drawings, but also in films, paintings, sculptures, art books, reliefs and computer animation.
The exhibition title makes reference to the decisive moment in the artistic process of the work with a computer: the design of the algorithm, namely, the sets of rules which are systematically processed by the computer. In a text dating from 1971, Manfred Mohr poses the provocative question as to whether it is possible to fully describe an artist’s style by an algorithm. The multiplicity of works presented in the exhibition documents the utopian element of the enterprise.
About the artist:
Manfred Mohr (*1938 in Pforzheim): after a training at the Kunst- und Werkschule Pforzheim the artist studied at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris. He has been living and working in New York since 1981. His works are represented in numerous collections, among others, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. His works have been on show in numerous solo- and group exhibitions, such as at the Kunsthalle Bremen, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Centre Pompidou, the Museo Nacional Centro de Reina Sofia, Madrid and the PS1, New York. His art has been awarded with numerous prizes, among others, with the »Goldenen Nica of the Ars Electronica« (1990), the »d.velop digital art award [ddaa]« (2006) as well as the »Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art« of ACM Siggraph (2013).
Matthew Day Jackson (born in Panorama City, California/USA, 1974) is considered one of the most inventive artists of his generation. The work of the New York-based artist is characterized by an interdisciplinary choice of themes that draw on aspects of technology and popular culture, but also of science, philosophy and sport, from the pool of which both fascinating and, at times irritating works emerge. All his work questions firmly established perspectives and negates linear modes of historical explanation.
Through his approach, which combines the relics of artifacts with high-tech materials by means of bricolage methods and reconstructs historical references in relief-like collages, objects begin to emerge which unify both the utopian as well as dystopian elements of a technologized world. At times ironic, the works also render a practice of disclosing the past. Jackson makes his appearance as a trickster and artist-archaeologist who, in his wide-ranging work combines historical events with a fictional search for traces, thus also making his work no less a media-critical reflection. The mythologizing of his self as artist invariably comprises the focus of his work, and sets physicality and the destructive results of human invention in relation to one another.
Jackson’s current interests center on the question of the cultural impact of the atom bomb, the material afterlife of which he weaves together in his works with an artistic debate on the essence and future of the American dream. The exhibition title aptly cites from Paul Virilio’s »The Information Bomb« (»La bombe informatique«, Galilée, Paris, 1998), in which the French philosopher decodes the consequences of scientific achievements against the backdrop of information technology. The exhibition brings together installations, pictures, sculptures and videos, the majority of which were especially produced for the exhibition at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art. Thus, the artist’s new pictorial work presents the myths of the universe and its research alongside events related to the history of nuclear testing, and connects this filmically with the new production of the TV series »In Search of...«, a 1970s American production that sought answers to historical inconsistencies and paranormal phenomena.
»Matthew Day Jackson. Total Accomplishment« is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Germany. With American cultural history as his point of departure, Jackson approaches the question of the technological occupation of our world from a multiplicity of angles; he critically investigates its influence on individuals and the collective and, by drawing on a diversity of media, thematizes the complexity of Western civilization through dissolving its myths by way of creating new enigmas.
Over the course of the »Arab Spring« the region to the south of the Mediterranean is undergoing a state of transformation, the events of which are followed in Europe with great interest, but also with hope and skepticism. With respect to content, the focus of the exhibition »Cross-border« is on artist’s critical investigation of various thematic aspects of the concept of borders, the attitudes and approaches to borders and strategies of overcoming them. Questions emerge within the context of the exhibition, which adopt a clear position to this issue and elaborate a range of solutions, which treat regionally specific, political or cultural aspects.
The eighteen artists whose works are represented in the exhibition are globally networked. Several of them have spent many years abroad, a number of them currently in foreign countries or else commute between different countries. The exhibition offers a differentiated perspective on the region through the works of the artists, which invite viewers to reevaluate biased perspectives and misinterpretations.
The exhibition “Generosity. Donations and Loans from the ZKM Collection”, honors the act of giving and donating though which, in recent years, the collection of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe has been enriched with significant works of art by internationally known artists. Following the exhibitions “Architektur und Identität”, 2010/11 and “PRESENTation”, 2012, which provided insights into the ZKM collection for the first time, the exhibition “Generosity” emphasizes those works which were handed over to the house as donations and permanent loans. Works of art by over forty international artists will be shown which, in various media, straddle a period ranging from the 1060s to the present.
Since the founding of the ZKM in 1989, the collection, initially directed by Heinrich Klotz and presently chaired by Peter Weibel, has grown to around 1500 positions; in addition to a large number of works of media art it also contains paintings, photographs, installations, videos and works on paper. Civic participation, which expresses itself in the transfer of works of art by single persons – among which are often artists themselves–, families and companies to public institutions, guarantees free access to art to a broad public and thus represents an invaluable value for the generality.
Artists: Hans Peter Alvermann, John Armleder, Sieglinde Bölz, Christoph Brech, Jimmie Durham, Günther Förg, Andreas Gursky, Karl-Horst Hödicke, Edward Kienholz und Nancy Reddin-Kienholz, Jürgen Klauke, Barbara Klemm, Imi Knoebel, Mischa Kuball, Urs Lüthi, Heinz Mack, Michel Majerus, Gordon Matta-Clark, Olaf Metzel, Michael Najjar, Dennis Oppenheim, Fabrizio Plessi, Otto Piene, Elke Sommer, Hans-Peter Reuter, Thomas Struth, Günther Uecker, Timm Ulrichs, Jürgen Waller, Franz Erhard Walther, Hermann Weber, Erwin Wurm, Herbert Zangs
Curators: Nina Fernandez, Idis Hartmann, Daria Mille, Philipp Ziegler
With the retrospective »Werner Büttner. Gemeine Wahrheiten« the ZKM holds – in cooperation with the Museum Weserbug | Museum of Contemporary Art – the most comprehensive exhibition to date of works by the Hamburg artist.
Together with Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen, he has exerted a sustained influence on the European art scene since the early 1980s. Paintings, drawings, collages and sculptures testify to Büttner’s ingenuity, his sense of irony, but also his biting derision of social realities. With around 300 works, the retrospective underscores Büttner’s significance with respect to the development of German painting at the close of the 20th century, characterizing him as one of the central figures and pioneers. The focus of the exhibition is Werner Büttner the painter, who, following the reinvigoration of figurative painting in the 1960s and 1970s, began to break with its illusionism and to finally strip it of all bourgeois elements.
»JHQ. Blaffert & Wamhof« shows the photographic documentary of the withdrawal of British troops from Rheindahlen (NRW). The closing of the headquarters of Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) of NATO, and the Headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) is here symptomatic of a development increasingly gaining in actuality. The presentation focuses on the people who lived here, and influenced the developments on the surroundings. Deserted sites, which emerged in the process of dissolution, testify to a past era and its history. The acquired photographs here show themselves as documentary of the history of both sides – the headquarters, as well as the surroundings, which have accompanied the situation over 50 years.
The photographers’ intentions are to sensitize viewers to the events. Here, the social transformations should not be interpreted as archaeological retrospective of a »ghost-town-like« historical environment: they should far rather be pursued with artistic insight. Here, the photographs of Blaffert & Wamhof are linked to the tradition or political documentaries.
The artistic work of Henry Flynt is considered one of the most well-preserved secrets of recent history. The artist was the first to coin the term »Concept Art« and is considered among experts of the North American avant-garde scene as one of the central figures. However, a broad reception of the artist, philosopher, mathematician, economic scientist, composer and musician’s artistic work, produced only sporadically since 1959, has been rarely shown in public.
The exhibition »Henry Flynt. Activities 1959–« at the ZKM | Media Museum – which could be previously viewed in the Kunstverein for Rhineland and Westfalia, Düsseldorf – provides an overview of the artistic works of the artist born in 1940. Together with numerous publications, documents and other archival material, the significant selection of his works facilitates an understanding of the historical genesis of Flynt’s work, and classification of it into the contemporary historical context.
The exhibition, designed and presented for the first time in Düsseldorf, was produced in close collaboration with Henry Flynt.
»You&Me-isms Part 2« is an installation and an artistic-experimental media system in the age of high-tech communication machines. The installation, composed of over 500 illuminated signals appears as a kind of idiosyncratic cyberpunk communication machine.
Visitors may enter their text messages of up to 60 signs via an input terminal. Controlled by means of a computer program, the message is played back letter for letter, word for word. The messages may be notifications, news and short pieces of prose, aphorisms, wishes or questions. Thus, for the visitors, the illuminated sign matrix is a playable communications or information sculpture on which they may »inscribe« their own messages. With playful-ironic and subversive-rebellious gestures, the visitors are called upon to rebel against commercial signs and information monopoles. But the installation contains, above all, the invitation to take a scrutinizing view of the world of objects and things, which surround us in the way we perceive them and, hence, the way they determine us.
Today, the “Spaceship Earth” (Buckminster Fuller) is equipped with myriad sensors – whether in the form of satellites in space or in the sonar measurement devices in the oceans. Only a few of these are classic »camera eyes«, as one knows them in analog photography. They do, however, produce images: the measurement data gained through these sensors are visualized so as to be rendered amenable to interpretation by the human being.
Such measurements and visualizations take up a momentous role in the processes of control and decision in science, politics and the military, in medicine and in the police. The new practices of the two and three-dimensional cartography produce maps in the form of pixels and voxels that can be freely transformed and called up worldwide. They thus change not only the scope of knowledge and surveillance of the world, but open up a new, worldwide sphere of action.
Through video essays and photography, the exhibition »Maschinensehen« [Machinevision] documents the practice of picture production: its devices and technologies, the laboratories, as well as the sites where the new processes are applied. In addition, it shows a selection of current objects of research: from self-experiments in a brain scanner, the reconstruction of crime scenes through 3D photography, the remeasurement of the continental shelf and the fight for raw material resources, the automation of dairy farming, measurement flight in the atmosphere, up to the evaluation of satellite imagery.
The project »Maschinensehen« is based on the field research of an interdisciplinary seminar at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG), directed by Prof. Armin Linke and curated by Anselm Franke.
Conceptual video art is marked by a search for the essential boundaries of the moving image. It explores the boundaries of perception and of the human being in its interaction with the world. The exhibition “body in abstraction” presents four works from the European tradition of conceptual art. The artists share a minimalist commitment to the concentrated form of installation video. Refraining from the narrative and representational strategies of shock and provocation, they all manifest a certain stylistic austerity.
The works by Elisabetta Di Sopra, Hofstetter Kurt and Barbara Doser concern essential and archetypal forms of the human body, the way in which we identify others and ourselves. Anna Jermolaewa and Peter Weibel are trying to explore the boundaries of society and of human interaction with the medium of video.
Artists: Anna Jermolaewa (Russia), Elisabetta Di Sopra (Italy), Peter Weibel (Austria), Hofstetter Kurt und Barbara Doser (Austria)
Curator: Laura Carlotta Gottlob
Art History Advisor: Reidar Due
Accompanying Program: ARTIST RESEARCH LECTURES
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
Fri, February 15, 4 p.m.
Peter Weibel: »RENAISSANCE 2.0«
at the Ruskin School of Art – Old Master’s Studio, 74 High Street
Mon, February 19, 4.30 p.m.
Hofstetter Kurt: »On the Event Horizon of Order«
at the Department Computer Science – Wolfson Building, Parks Road
The exhibition is organized by St John’s College Oxford and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. In collaboration with MAO – Modern Art Oxford, University of Oxford – Ruskin School of Art & Department of Computer Science and with support of the Austrian Cultural Forum London.
The “Discovery of a new continent of art” (Peter Weibel) was already an object of the exhibition at the ZKM | Karlsruhe in 2007 curated by Wonil Rhee entitled »Thermocline of Art. New Asian Waves«. The large-scale show on the newest tendencies in the Asian art scene prompted huge international attention. The rapid development in the sphere of the Asiatic »moving image« required a continuation and presentation of this theme already after six years. Under the multi-layered title »Move on Asia. Video Art in Asia 2002 to 2012«, the ZKM shows the development of precisely this genre, and points to the increasing significance of Asia in global contemporary art.
An atmosphere of upheaval is perceptible throughout present-day Asia, which finds expression in a new discourse on contemporary Asiatic art that transgresses all genres. It is not the adherence and conservation of past values, but the recovery, creation, integration and transformation which constitute the guidelines under which the new Asiatic art liberates itself from the western models and achieves an increasingly greater independence. Until the turn of the century, as an art genre the video continued to be attributed to the western hemisphere – and in spite of the fact that its most important representatives were from Asia; over the last two decades, however, independent video cultures have evolved that have found a global public last but not least at flourishing biennales and art exhibitions throughout the Asian continent. The selection of works that make up “Move on Asia” draws on the large-scale festival of moving digital pictures in Asia of the same name organized by a network of 20 curators and 40 video artists since 2004. The exhibition which cooperates with Alternative Space LOOP in Seoul (Korea) presents video art from China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition to recognized artists, recent works by the young generation are also on show.
An interactive installation entitled »Global Fire« by the Paris-based artist Du Zhenjun may also be viewed in connection with the exhibition: a huge inflatable dome in which the visitors may ignite the flags of 200 countries with lighters on heat censors. Also on show in the »ZKM_PanoramaLab« the interactive video installation »40+4. Art is Not Enough! Not Enough«, resulted from the collaboration between the curator Davide Quadrio, the filmmaker Lothar Spree as well as the video artist Xiaowen Zhu.
Since the beginning of the 1990s the Shanghai-born and Paris-based artist Du Zhenjun has drawn attention, by way of his interactive works, to the individual as well as social conditions of a world influenced by turbo capitalism and globalization. In the exhibition »Du Zhenjun. Babel-world« at the ZKM⎥Karlsruhe, his large-scale work series BABEL, composed of photographic work, demonstrates that turning the world into new Towers of Babel, he presents a contemporary version of the apokalypse: barely having the new tower-symbols of newly gained wealth and superpower been built, than they are already on fire and the earth is flooded. "The majestic Towers of Babel as originating in Du Zhenjun's imagination arise, as it were, like an annoucement of the events to come: horror in all its beauty". (Sacha Goldman)
The geopolitical change that took place in 1989 ushered in an era of worldwide biennales, whose geography bid farewell to Western Art, with its old contradiction between the center and the periphery. The exhibition project »Nothing to Declare?« now documents these global developments. The heart of this exhibition is a panorama room as a media installation, which illustrates the passage of time and the geographical expansion of the global practice of art using a wide range of data.
In so doing, a development becomes recognizable, which is no longer to be interpreted only as pure art history, but rather requiring multiple forms of re-narration – geopolitical, social, economic and cultural. The creation of a new critical practice in the arts also corresponds to these structural changes. The research project »Global Art and the Museum (GAM)« at the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Centre for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe has dedicated itself to this theme since 2006. An initial interim review was presented in the exhibition »The Global Contemporary« at the ZKM. This project is now continued in cooperation with the Academy. It places Berlin, in particular, as an art center within the context of a development that begins in 1989. The theme of the exhibition also will be discussed in a symposium by Goethe-Institut Lissabon on 2nd and 3rd of February 2013 under the title »Rethinking cosmopolitism«.
On the occasion of Otto Piene’s upcoming 85th birthday, the ZKM l Museum of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition »Energy fields«, which, with a selection of approximately fifty works, provides insight into his work. Born in 1928, Otto Piene is considered one of the most important pioneers of a kinetic, technology-based, multi-media art.
For Piene art is not so much a conceptual phenomenon, than an energetic one. Recourse to natural scientific knowledge, as well as to the strong connection between art, technology and nature constitute the bedrock of all his works. Piene, furthermore, is among the founders of Environmental Art. Starting out from his smoke and fire paintings dating from the 1960s, the show at the ZKM exhibits »Inflatables« (inflatable sculptures), light installations, gouaches, hitherto not exhibited drawings, new ceramics and reliefs. Here, the multiplicity of media, with which the artist has worked throughout the course of his career comprises the focus of the exhibition. In addition to early paintings, which he illuminates with a stroboscope, the key work shown in the exhibition is the multi-piece air sculpture »Fleurs du Mal«.
Following his studies at the art academies of Munich and Düsseldorf, as well as a course of studies in philosophy in Cologne, towards the end of the 1950s, Otto Piene, together with Heinz Mack and Günther Uecker, was one of the founders of the ZERO movement in Düsseldorf. In 1974 he took over the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), at the MIT in Boston, from György Kepes and, through to 1994, converted it into one of the most important centers for art and technology. As member of the board of trustees, in 1990 Piene contributed decisively to the foundation of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. Today, he lives and works in Boston, Berlin and Düsseldorf.
Just like the design of a subway connects places in a city in an ideal way, there is an ideal way for neurons in the brain to connect to each other. The computer generated neurons in the panoramic movie reproduce such ideal connections and are indistinguishable from the neurons found in the real biological brain. This is strong evidence that the brain actually implements such a design.
In March this year, artists, graduates from art schools and autodidacts with their own artistic styles could apply for a unique project produced by the television company ARTE: under the guidance of mentors, the ARTE »TV Master Class« offered participants the opportunity to pursue a detailed enquiry into the question of art in general and the development of their own exhibition.
From over 2000 submissions, an internationally renowned jury (including, among others, lawyer and art enthusiast Peter Raue, and media businesswoman and art collector Christiane zu Salm) selected seven participants who were then given the opportunity to be observed and advised in a master class while at work by well-known artists Dieter Meier and Angel Vergara among others as mentors.
Produced this summer, the six-part ARTE series turned on the question »what is modern art?«. The jury accompanied the work of the artists with lively as well as controversial discussions. Although over the course of the project, the number of participants fell from seven to four, fascinating works were produced and then shown in the ZKM | Media Museum in the exhibition ARTE and the ZKM present »Everything for Art«. Managing Director of the ZKM Christiane Riedel accompanied the project and supported the young artists in the design of their presentations.
»One Sixth of the Earth. Ecologies of Image« presents art produced in countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc dating from the last 15 years. The exhibition focuses on works of moving image − the medium adopted by many contemporary artists − and develops a broad 'ecological' framework to present and contextualize a wide range of work from different countries and cultures.
The understanding of ecology informing »One Sixth of the Earth« is based on the ideas of French psychoanalyst, Félix Guattari, as elaborated in his essay »The Three Ecologies« (1989). Here, Guattari argues that the challenges posed by current ecological dilemmas can be met only by addressing the totality of human societal and environmental ecologies. The author goes on to argue that art represents one of the modes through which these three levels may be integrated: artists operate at the forefront of a new synthesis through which the experience of art brings greater balance into our lives thus reducing social and ecological disruption.
Though bold this is a strikingly appropriate description of countries of the former Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union in the years following 1989. The utopian aspirations informing these erstwhile socialist states were relegated to history following the dystopian experience of survival among the economically and ecologically damaged societies that then emerged. The present exhibition aims to present some of the exciting voices of the period by bringing together both well-known and widely exhibited artists with others who have had much less public exposure.
The exhibition engages a number of disparate, at times opposed themes, which not only follow the trajectories of participating artists, but also the substantially different histories of their respective countries of origin and/or the location in which they are currently active artistically. These include: cultural nomadism − artists are now at liberty to search abroad for the most suitable schooling and practice; the emergence of vital local art scenes (often building on networks established during the Communist era), which may present artists with difficult choices for advancing their careers at home or abroad; the rise of new nationalisms (with attendant xenophobia and racism affecting many countries in the region); issues of gender and sexual identity (in some cases linked to progressive cultural politics of a previous, communist generation).
»One Sixth of the Earth« (1926) is also the title of a film by Dziga Vertov, the most experimental exponent of documentary cinema in the former Soviet Union. The film depicts a utopian vision of multiracial and multicultural potential in Soviet society. The exhibition makes emblematic reference to this film as an indication of the particular genius and aspirations of artists and curators from this region of the world. The moving image was the most influential art form during the communist era, proving itself as a forceful means of artistic critique.
In the 1950s and 1960s, London underwent a cultural revolution, which changed forever the way contemporary art would be seen and set off a radical reformulating of artistic creation. United in their disbelief in the well-established cultural norms, the post-war generation of artists, poets and writers found new ways to distance themselves from the previous generation. Many of these artists first met one another and took refuge at Tony Godwin’s Charing Cross bookstore »Better Books«. With the successful concept under the management of Bill Butler, Barry Miles and Bob Cobbing, »Better Books« became not only a haven but also the platform and ”voice“ of the explosively radical spirit within London. The bookshop enabled and initiated meetings, gave room for ideas, and became a sanctuary for numerous avant-garde artists, poets, filmmakers, musicians and writers.
The exhibition »Better Books: Art, Anarchy and Apostasy« at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art presents the artworks, films, and poems that bore witness to this movement, as well as rarely shown photographs, ephemera, and additional archive material. This presentation gives a deep insight into the scene around »Better Books« from which a multitude of activities and events emerged, such as »The International Poetry Incarnation«, Gustav Metzger's »Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS)«, The People Show, the foundation of the London Filmmakers' Cooperative or John Latham's and Jeffrew Shaw's »Book Plumbing«-events.
For the first time it will be possible to see and to experience a live presentation of Gustav Metzger's re-fabrication of his own work »Earth from Space (revisited)«. The project (1966−2012) belongs to Metzger’s earliest experiments with liquid crystals, which became the basis for his psychedelic light object. The seldom shown work »Sound Hat« (1970) by Annea Lockwood, of which 15 copies were produced for Henri Chopin’s »OU«, is likewise a part of the show along with a documentation of Criton Tomazos's unfinished »Cage« project.
Additionally, early works by Jeff Nuttall can be seen, as well as the bizarre constructions of Bruce Lacey and also John Latham's scultupture »The Laws of England«. Films by Stephen Dwoskin, Pip Benveniste, John Latham, Jeff Keen, Peter Whitehead, Piero Heliczer and many others form the mise-en-scène of the exhibition at ZKM. Also present will be documents and publications by, among others, Bob Cobbing, Jeff Nuttall, Alexander Trocchi and Dom Sylvester Houdard.
Since the founding of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in 1989, a comprehensive collection has been built up with a high degree of competence and expertise – initially by the founding director Heinrich Klotz (1935-1999), and subsequently pursued by Peter Weibel, Chairman of the ZKM. In addition to the most extensive collection of interactive art worldwide, and in keeping with its programmatic focus on major artists, the ZKM has in its possession numerous works in the genres of video and photography, characterized during the founding years as »new media«. However, traditional forms of artistic expression such as painting, sculpture and drawing by renowned creators of art can also be found in the ZKM collection, which has grown to include approximately 1,500 positions since its founding.
In addition to a far-sighted acquisition policy for the ZKM Collection, since 1989 the institution has frequently been given generous presents by renowned artists. They have also contributed to enhancing the ZKM’s standing internationally, and to making the institution more attractive as a partner and potential lender. In view of the increasing budgetary shortages for public museums, the practice of donations always guarantees a much appreciated growth for the collection – in the past, but also for the future.
Just at a time in which the role of the philanthropically “giving hand” (Peter Sloterdijk) and the “common wealth” (Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri) have been in recent discussion, an exhibition by ‘democratic donors’ assumes special value. With this show, the ZKM wishes to honor the donors for their generosity.
»PRESENTation. Gifts for the ZKM Collection« shows a small selection of works of art, which were donated to the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art by private patrons or businesses – presents of a special kind. The added suffix »-ation« connotes an action or the results of an action of a main verb. While this points decidedly to the presentation of the works of art on show, in a figurative sense it may also be understood as a challenge.
As a medium, the video has been influenced by the full spectrum of aesthetic currents, and has established itself both as one of the most important contemporary means of artistic expression and as critical instrument. In collaboration with the Centre Pompidou Paris, the exhibition entitled »Vidéo Vintage 1963-1983« shows the emergence of video art from the 1960s to the early 1980s by way of a selection of the most popular works in video art. Of particular interest here is the selection of three focal points »Performance and Filmic Self-portrait«, »Television: Research, Experimentation, Criticism«, and »Attitudes, Forms, Concepts«, which show the development of the video, its artistic application as well as »research« and criticism.
In the 1960s and 1970s artists in Europe and in North and South America used the first portable video cameras and thus the recordings of their performances were often driven by socio-political ambitions. One of the first to take up the medium of video as an artistic instrument was North American artist Nam June Paik. In 1965 he took up the first portable video camera, Sony’s so-called Portapak, and began taking close-ups of himself. The resulting work entitled »Button Happening« opens the exhibition with the first thematic emphasis under the name »Performance and Filmic Self-portrait«. His approach was to find countless imitators, such as Sonia Andrade, Valie Export, Paul McCarthy or Nil Yalter, who had likewise begun filming themselves in their studios with what, for that time, was a new kind of recording device.
The relationship between the medium of video and television, which encompasses the second aspect of the exhibition, developed from the claims deriving from the TV industry, which defined itself in distinction to cinema as a mass media. In the 1960s and 1970s one of the primary concerns of television producers was to extend both the program variety as well as the period of broadcasting time. For this reason, the leading French TV broadcasting company ORTF, and the television industry in the United States of America initiated so-called TV laboratories: directors were invited to come and acquire cutting-edge film and montage tools. Countless works, produced by Jean-Christophe Averty, Jean-Luc Godard and Thierry Kuntzel, for example, thus revealed new aesthetic possibilities, and may also be viewed in the show »Vidéo Vintage 1963-1983«, like many works prepared by Gerry Schum as part of the television exhibition (1969/70) in the »Fernsehgalerie« [Television Gallery] in Düsseldorf. The aim of German producers was to make works of video art designed for television by artists such as Bazon Brock and Lawrence Weiner reproducible for television and thus accessible to a broad public.
The last section, »Attitudes, Forms, Concepts«, illustrates the medium of video as an instrument which seeks to approach the various currents of art history. In addition to critical reflection and illustration of research results in this field, this last area displays documents from previous exhibitions in museums and galleries that announced the theme »video«.
Even the equipment and fittings of the show itself are »vintage« and enable visitors to undertake a journey back in time to the 1960s and 1970s: the staged »living room« in the exhibition space invites visitors to enjoy the videos at their full length and to cast themselves back to the 1960s.
As a medium, the newspaper has been an object of art since the mid-nineteenth century. Whether as tool for enlightenment or as an instrument of manipulation, artists have drawn on the medium in a number of ways and for several reasons, and to which they ascribe varying degrees of meaning. The exhibition »ARTandPRESS. Art. Truth. Reality.« presents around 50 artistic approaches, illustrating the network of links between journalism and art, and the ways in which artists draw on media for their creative production.
The newspaper is considered the oldest information carrier and continues to be well-established among a broad public. And whereas a surge of radical changes has been brought about in the wake of media technologies, democracy, the modern state and present-day information society would be inconceivable without the newspaper.
A brief glance at the art history of the foregoing 200 years shows a close-knit relationship between art and press. Art and the newspaper share common features in their intention to enquire, to clarify and to challenge accepted norms. The claim to illustrate reality as authentically as possible – objectively, subjectively and as pure assertion – is the common endeavor connecting the activity of news production and artistic creativity. The press creates the public, and art needs the public. A dependency accorded the newspaper as a medium within art.
In addition to contemporary exhibits, the show »ARTandPRESS. Art. Truth. Reality«. also includes an historical overview of the story of the newspaper both in and with art. And yet, not by way of originals, but via iPad – a medium which, already functioning as a digital newspaper, may be described as one of the biggest competitors to the analog press. For its part, in the exhibition the iPad becomes a carrier of art information in both pictorial and interactive forms. The modern medium seeks to make access to the historical works easier for the visitors, and to show the relationship between newspaper and art.
The show consequently presents a broad spectrum of mediums: from classical painting and installations, object art and video through to cutting-edge forms of Internet communication. The exhibition »ARTandPRESS Art. Truth. Reality.« is a project sponsored by the foundation, Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur e.V. Bonn, and was first on show in Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. Furthermore, at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art a cabinet has also been installed in which one of Hans Richter’s works from the ZKM | Karlsruhe collection is presented, in which newspapers were also used as elements of collage.
The installation »resonate« (September 08, 2012 until March 10, 2013) consists of several kilometers of sound strings and seven interactive bodies containing a total of 1600 controllable LED lights. When the strings are plucked, the tension and the vibration of the ropes changes, thus generating new sounds. The surfaces become the communication level and interact with the installation. Because this takes place in a constant flow, an arrangement is created in which visitors take on an active influence. Rhythm and variance, like in music, are essential components of the installation »resonate«. Through the change in the design parameters based on the controls, it was possible to develop a complex, three-dimensional spatial structure in which form, light, and sound build a unit. The installation is illuminated through video-enabled LED lights in combination with black light. The 1600 individually computer-controlled Capix-LEDs make visible the acoustic resonances of the strings on eight objects.
The spatial sound installation was experienced for the first time in the 40-meter-long interior of a container boat in Frankfurt’s city center, on Holbeinsteg, in the context of »Luminale 2012«, one of Germany’s most prominent architecture and design festivals.
The interactive light and sound installation resonate is a project of the master study course in interior design »Kommunikation im Raum« at the Mainz University of Applied Sciences and emerged from a cooperation with the master study course »Klangkunst-Komposition« of the School of Music at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. This was enabled by a grant from the Gutenberg Teaching College at the University of Mainz.