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16 Jun 2010

Matter of Negotiation at KUNSTPAVILLON, Innsbruck

The Faculty of Invisibility: Putting into Force, 2009.
Photo: Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen



11 June – 24 July 2010 Opening hours:
Tue to Fri 10.00–12.00 and 14.00–18.00
Sat 11.00–17.00

Curator: Andrei Siclodi
+43 512 581133

Rennweg 8a
6020 Innsbruck

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Madeleine Bernstorff, Ana Hoffner, Brigitta Kuster, Mona V?t?manu & Florin Tudor, Ina Wudtke, Inga Zimprich / The Faculty of Invisibility

curated by Andrei Siclodi

An exhibition realized in the context of the International Fellowship Program for Art and Theory at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen 2009 – 2010.

What constitutes EUrope today? Is the European Union actually only an alliance of states for the purpose of setting up a neo-liberal domestic market? Or does the political integration of the parts of Europe previously divided between East and West into a “community of values and cultures,” disguised as “reintegration,” play a decisive role in the process of implementing the free market interests of the West within the East? Following the large-scale eastern expansion in 2004 and the smaller one of 2007, EUrope has been developing more and more characteristics of a nation—“nation,” in the sense defined by the American political scientist Benedict Anderson, as an “imagined community,” a community imagined within boundaries and sovereign. The development of an EU constitution, actively pursued until 2004 although a political failure, as well as the aggressive sealing off of the EU boundaries to the outside are unmistakable signs of this development. Considering this situation, the question as to the socio-political aims and the mechanisms behind them directly arises, and also the question as to the historical preconditions that might play a significant role as a foundation for these developments. And last, but not least, is the question: is this development (still) negotiable?

The exhibition Verhandlungssache / Matter of Negotiation throws a spotlight on artistic policies of action and negotiation that avail themselves of strategies of articulation, as used by language and memory, and that could equally play an important part in the process of subjectivation of a “new EUrope.” Queer activism past and present, institutional critique, the legacy of colonialism, and the question of post-communist society form the topical background against which the six discursive approaches unfold and relate to each other. The exhibition is envisioned as a heterotopia in Michel Foucault’s sense of the term, as a site that enables reflection on, and the problematizing of, given social and cultural norms and their opposition.

Verhandlungssache / Matter of Negotiation is the result of the involvement with the projects, artistic ideas and working methods of the participants in the International Fellowship Program for Art and Theory at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen 2009–2010. Their artistic approaches, their fields of research, and their topics have provided the starting point for this exhibition. The curatorial concept envisaged a step-by-step evolution of the exhibition topic and of the display in parallel with the progressing of the projects. Madeleine Bernstorff has looked at the way the suffragettes, the militant women’s rights activists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, were represented in early silent film. In her artistic research project, Ana Hoffner has investigated the organization of sexuality in contemporary Europe as well as the instrumentalization of this sexuality by the capitalist West for the purpose of realizing a Eurocentric, colonial project in the former East. Ina Wudtke, meanwhile, has prepared the exhibition Griot Girlz, that presents feminist art in the context of music rooted in Afro-American traditions. And Inga Zimprich, together with the Faculty of Invisibility (Sönke Hallmann, et al.), has dealt with the performative promise of the United Nations, of that exemplary diplomatic negotiation space, inside which “language, law, and community intertwine,” as Zimprich has put it.
The contributions emerging from these various projects and the discussion relating to them are on display. These positions are further supplemented by three former Büchsenhausen fellows who advocate in different ways an active reappraisal of history. Brigitta Kuster deals with the colonial archive, or the colonial library, and the ideas buried there, whose effects continue to play a part in the constitution of present-day EUrope. Mona V?t?manu & Florin Tudor put forward remembering as an indispensable prerequisite for understanding our post-communist society. In their work, they symbolically address the general social uncertainty caused by the changing values of the past two decades.
An exhibition too is always a matter of negotiation, the result of a complex negotiation process within the framework of its conditions. Negotiations can end successfully, yet they can also fail. Verhandlungssache / Matter of Negotiation deliberately puts both these potential results up for discussion.

Andrei Siclodi

The artists:

Madeleine Bernstorff
is a film curator, author, super 8 film-maker, and lecturer living in Berlin.

Ana Hoffner is an artist and scholar in cultural studies who lives in Vienna and Innsbruck. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and works in the fields of queer and migrant/post-colonial politics.

Brigitta Kuster—artist, video/film-maker and author—lives in Berlin. Her work focuses on topics such as the representation of work, gender, and sexual identity, (urban) space, migration, transnationality, and (post) colonialism. She is a member of the group Remember Resistance, which develops film screenings on the legacy of (post) colonialism. She has had numerous publications on the above-mentioned topics. Brigitta Kuster was a fellow at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen during the winter semester 2008/09.

Mona V?t?manu & Florin Tudor
have been working together since 2000. In their artistic work, they apply strategies of remembering that play an important part for the understanding of present post-communist society and its values. Mona V?t?manu & Florin Tudor were fellows at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in 2004. They live in Bucharest.

Ina Wudtke is an artist and D.J. living in Berlin. She envisions her work as visual intercultural and interdisciplinary research. In her installations, she uses techniques like mixing, seriality, and re-representation, which have been developed in the context of the history of “black culture” and “new feminism” as methods of re-appropriation and counter-authority. In this context, she has also curated various international exhibitions.

Inga Zimprich is an artist and curator living in Berlin. In the mostly collaborative works in which she takes part, the space of speech of contemporary art institutions is central.  The Faculty of Invisibility was founded in 2006 as an institution that transgresses formats of public organization. In its productions the Faculty of Invisibility questions formats of public assembly.