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22 May 2014

'Gesture,' at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Banu Narciso, Untitled, 2014, Courtesy: The artist

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart


Gesture,: May 24 – August 3, 2014 Opening: Friday, May 23, 2014, 7 p.m. Artist's tour, Lectures, Performances: Saturday, May 24, 2014, 2 - 9 p.m.


+49 (0)711-22 33 70
+49 (0)711-29 36 17

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
Schlossplatz 3
70173 Stuttgart

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May 24 – August 3, 2014

Laura Bielau, Leigh Bowery / Cerith Wyn Evans, Dominik, Margit Emmrich, Lutz Förster, Till Gathmann, Douglas Gordon, David Hinton, Geumhyung Jeong, Gülsün Karamustafa, Auguste and Louis Lumière, Bruce McLean, Georges Méliès, Gérard Miller / Suzanne Hommel, Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, Banu Narciso, Tibor Szemzö, Vangelis Vlahos, Maja Vukoje, Marianne Wex, Anita Witek

The exhibition 'GESTURE,' that is on view from May 24 until August 3, 2014 at the Württembergischer Kunstverein approaches the subject of the human gesture from a philosophical, mediatic, and artistic perspective.

It takes up the semiotic and performative character of the gesture, and its theatrical nature. It sheds light on what is enacted and at the same time masked by it: a certain disability to speak, a speech disorder, the inabilty of humans 'to figure something out in language.' Thus, the focus is not so much on the gesture's potentials of expression, but on the linguistic dilemma it references, on its character of being a gag in the double sense of the word.

At the same time, the exhibition investigates the paradoxes inherent to the gesture: the way it is situated between speaking and being silent, showing and hiding, the conscious and the unconscious, discipline and careening out of control, dancing and tumbling …

The gesture always implies dynamism and immobility at once. It only ever appears in the interruption of a movement to which it simultaneously points. Inscribed in the gesture in a special way, therefore, are the technical dispositifs of photography and film—interrupting movements, mincing such motion into isolated gestures, and reassembling them. Thus special attention is granted to these dispositifs in the exhibition. Indeed, it was photography (since Marey and Muybridge) and film that started making visible certain ranges of motion as sequences of individual gestures—not to mention the pathos formulas and convulsions, the poses and buffooneries, which we have inherited from photography and early cinema.

A further aspect of the exhibition revolves around the question to what extent the regimes of class and gender, as well as the regimes of scientific fields like medicine and their apparatuses, are inscribed in the gesture. What could and would be the politics of the gesture?

Far from aiming to put forward a conclusive theory of the gesture, the exhibition seizes upon a series of theoretical and aesthetic approaches to the gesture that approximate this subject in ways that are more divergent and excursive than straightforward.

Apart from works by contemporary artists from the fields of visual arts, dance, and performance, the exhibition also presents a series of historical documents, references, and artworks, such as films from the early history of film.