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21 Jul 2008

Kunsthalle Luzern presents: KUNSCHT ISCH GÄNG ES RISIKO - (Mani Matter) Risky Business Art

Critical Art Ensemble, By Any Media Necessary

KUNSCHT ISCH GÄNG ES RISIKO (Mani Matter) Risky Business Art


Wed-Fri 14-19, Sa & Su 14-17

0041 41 412 0809
0041 41 412 0807

Bürgenstrasse 34-36
CH-6005 Luzern

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The Swiss singer/songwriter Mani Matter warns with his song 'Eskimo' against the risk of uncompromised dedication. In his story a man gets killed as he withdraws from the outside world to devote himself to playing the cembalo. He is playing the instrument in such an unrestricted manner that he does not hear an ice bear entering his tent to kill him. „Art is always risky' (Kunscht isch gäng es Risiko) is Matter's comment. But what exactly is this risk in the arts?

Listening attentively to Matter's song one will discover that it is not necessarily obsession that causes the tragedy to unfold, rather, it seems, it's the Eskimo's desire for autonomy, his unquestioned belief in his own ideals that lead him into misery. The Eskimo has never touched a cembalo before but is all the same convinced that he will be able to play it masterfully. Is it possible that the protagonist doesn't die by accident; does he much more have to be killed because he dared the impossible – radical autonomy (through art), ignoring the feasible without the slightest consideration of a potential risk, without safeguarding? What order or mentality does this fearless behavior represent a danger to, or does the Eskimo simply imperil himself by underestimating the precarious space his action evokes? Furthermore, why does Matter call his tragic hero an artist at all?

The exhibition Kunscht isch gäng es risiko (Risky Business Art) wants to examine different moments of risk in the arts and for the arts. One part of the works deals with the question why artists constitute a risk for society, or, under what circumstances exactly they are declared as such, respectively. Other works document an artistic practice that puts the artist's own social and physical existence at risk or transforms the provocation and production of risks into an artistic medium itself. Another focus in the exhibition is the attempt to show how art as a field of experimentation and existential reality produces insecurities, uncertainties or fragilities in the personality of the artist him- or herself. A last group of work tests models of insurance or securing and solidarity against economical and political risks by means of a variety of artistic strategies.

Public Programming:

At the opening on the 5th of September the opera singer and security guard Anna Vichery will recite opera excerpts concerning the topic of risks between distress and happiness.

For the opening Huth&Frey will implement their risk reducing measurements on the public.

On the 6th of September Lars Vilks, Albert Heta, Prof. Dr. Schneemann, Department of Art History, University of Berne and Prof. Dr. Mathilde Bourrier, Department for Sociology, University of Geneva, and others, will discuss the issue of the artist as a social risk and art as a precarious practice. In English language.

On the 19th of September a film night will be showing video work from the participating as well as especially invited artists dealing with the subject matter of risk, pressure and political action. Main feature: Strange Culture, 2007, directed by Lynn Hershman Neelson, starring Tilda Swinton. The video addresses the judiciary case of Steven Kurtz, artist of the Critical Art Ensemble, who was accused of bio terrorism and the murder of his wife in 2004 based on his artistic practice. The case is still pendant.

Detailed information regarding the film night will be distributed on our website briefly before the event.