Welcome to the Jungle

Jonathas de Andrade

Jonathas de Andrade, O Levante (The Uprising), 2012-2013, happening + video + documentation

An ex­hi­bi­tion for the 50th an­niver­sary of Kun­sthalle Düssel­dorf am Grabbe­platz

Un­der the ti­tle Wel­come to the Jun­gle, the Kun­sthalle Düssel­dorf will bring to­geth­er a se­lec­tion of in­ter­na­tion­al works that crit­i­cal­ly, re­flec­tive­ly, and of­ten hu­mor­ous­ly, yet with­out moral­is­tic fin­ger-point­ing, re­fer to those con­di­tions and para­dox­es in which we be­come en­tan­gled while at­tempt­ing to do the right thing. For in­stance, there is a ten­den­cy to­day to re­volt against cir­cum­stances in which, through our de­ci­sions, we im­plic­it­ly al­low en­trepreneuri­al, so­cial, and re­source-re­lat­ed prac­tices to take place which we would re­ject in spe­cif­ic cas­es when, for ex­am­ple, hu­man be­ings and na­ture suf­fer as a re­sult. This man­i­fests it­self in the form of con­scious con­sumer choic­es in food, cloth­ing, and trav­el, or the sim­ple ques­tion of which top­ics and voic­es we lend our time and at­ten­tion to. From car­bon foot­prints to sus­tain­able fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments, from cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the pro­duc­tion chain—in prac­tice, the den­si­ty of in­for­ma­tion is tak­ing on jun­gle-like pro­por­tions. Yet it is of­ten not clear what fits best with our own be­liefs or which path would the­o­ret­i­cal­ly be the right one. It is an at­tempt to ori­ent our­selves amid the noise and thick­ets of the jun­gle and to dis­cern the big pic­ture from the lo­cal per­spec­tive. Col­lec­tive move­ments emerge and con­dense. In­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism and vi­ral nar­ra­tives share the band­width with pro­fes­sion­al im­age cam­paigns and dig­i­tal smoke­screens. Qual­i­ty seals for fair trade or or­gan­ic pro­duc­tion in­creas­ing­ly work like brands, and ways of life de­vot­ed to sus­tain­abil­i­ty can be adapt­ed from mag­a­zines in the vi­su­al lan­guage of the fash­ion and lifestyle in­dus­try. Thus, the jun­gle is al­so a sym­bol of dis­ori­en­ta­tion and over­load, a place where no one di­rec­tion looks more promis­ing than any oth­er. Each new po­si­tion ap­pears like an ar­bi­trary se­lec­tion of those al­ready avail­able. Ev­ery new nar­ra­tive is al­ready part of a larg­er nar­ra­tive in which fic­tion and en­light­en­ment merge. Whether on a broad scale and on the macroe­co­nom­ic lev­el the in­di­vid­u­al ques­tion “How do I want to live?” will lead to a crit­i­cal po­ten­tial and, as a con­se­quence, so­lu­tions for the so­cial and eco­log­i­cal prob­lems of mankind can be found is cer­tain­ly one of the ex­cit­ing ques­tions with which we are faced. Yet for the in­di­vid­u­al, the dilem­ma re­mains: Do I mea­sure my­self against a hy­po­thet­i­cal suc­cess of my de­ci­sions and re­sults (and am I on a con­stant search for new in­sights, since this morn­ing’s in­for­ma­tion is al­ready out­dat­ed), or can at­ti­tude, in­ten­tion, and in­tegri­ty with­in my in­di­vid­u­al life cir­cum­stances re­main valid stan­dards?

The vi­su­al arts al­so ad­dress ques­tions that ex­plic­it­ly deal with these top­ics. The fo­cus of the ex­hi­bi­tion is on such artis­tic prac­tices that con­cen­trate on the aes­thet­ic di­men­sion of art in or­der to sharp­en our aware­ness of these states and pro­cess­es, para­dox­es and con­tra­dic­tions in the ev­ery­day jun­gle of in­for­ma­tion, wis­dom, half-truths, prej­u­dices, and rules. The se­lect­ed works do not so much spec­i­fy a con­crete path or paint an apoc­a­lyp­tic pic­ture, but in­stead se­ri­ous­ly and whole­heart­ed­ly ex­am­ine the re­al­i­ties of the jun­gle and ul­ti­mate­ly en­cour­age the view­er to pur­sue stim­u­lat­ing ques­tions and ex­plore new ap­proach­es or po­et­ic and ab­surd paths in an en­cour­ag­ing and hu­mor­ous at­mo­sphere.

The artists who were in­vit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in the ex­hi­bi­tion are dis­tin­guished by the fact that they use their own spe­cif­ic ap­proach to me­dia to cre­ate cap­ti­vat­ing pic­tures and sto­ries that are per­sua­sive due to their choice of themes and their aes­thet­ics. Many of the se­lect­ed works deal with con­crete sit­u­a­tions and de­vel­op­ments that they ob­serve and in which they (aes­thet­i­cal­ly) in­ter­vene. Be­yond a pure­ly doc­u­men­tary ap­proach and at­ti­tude of en­light­en­ment, the works deal with the strate­gies of the doc­u­men­tary and ul­ti­mate­ly al­so the unattain­abil­i­ty of the one sole truth or the one right path. For in­stance, some of the artists work with doc­u­men­tary prac­tices, but con­tin­u­al­ly un­der­mine them by re­vers­ing the role of the ob­serv­er and the ob­served, punc­tu­at­ing it with the aes­thet­ics of mu­sic videos, or mak­ing the vis­i­bil­i­ty of a sub­ject pos­si­ble by stag­ing a doc­u­men­tary set­ting. Even those artis­tic prac­tices that ap­proach these themes through spe­cif­ic cul­tur­al sub­jects ul­ti­mate­ly cre­ate a uni­ver­sal va­lid­i­ty by means of their aes­thet­ics. An­oth­er ap­proach that con­nects the in­di­vid­u­al po­si­tions is the re­course to phys­i­cal and per­for­ma­tive el­e­ments through which ab­stract pro­cess­es be­come vis­i­ble and tan­gi­ble in a par­tic­u­lar way.

The ex­hi­bi­tion brings to­geth­er video in­stal­la­tions, per­for­mances, large-scale pro­duc­tions, and site-spe­cif­ic works by in­ter­na­tion­al artists. They are main­ly the works and per­spec­tives of a younger gen­er­a­tion.

Cu­rat­ed by Jas­mi­na Merz and An­na Lena Seis­er

Bilder

Finger Pointing Worker (represented by Kota Takeuchi), Pointing at Fukuichi Live Cam (video still), 2011

Finger Pointing Worker (represented by Kota Takeuchi), Pointing at Fukuichi Live Cam (video still), 2011

Kristina Buch, One of the things that baffles me about you is that you remain unmurdered., HD film, colour 24’40’’, Süddeutsche Zeitung (censored and uncensored), Emails, 2012-2016, Photo: Johannes Buch

Kristina Buch, One of the things that baffles me about you is that you remain unmurdered., HD film, colour 24’40’’, Süddeutsche Zeitung (censored and uncensored), Emails, 2012-2016, Photo: Johannes Buch

Laura Lima, Fumoir (cigars), 2009, Photo: lauralimastudio

Laura Lima, Fumoir (cigars), 2009, Photo: lauralimastudio

Oto Hudec, Concert for Adishi Glacier, 2017, Still image from HD video, Courtesy Gandy gallery

Oto Hudec, Concert for Adishi Glacier, 2017, Still image from HD video, Courtesy Gandy gallery

Liu Shiyuan,This Way or that Way, 2016 (Detail)Printed carpetCourtesy the artist

Liu Shiyuan,This Way or that Way, 2016 (Detail)
Printed carpet
Courtesy the artist

Cinthia Marcelle, Hunting Ground / Chão da caça, 2017 (detail)2018 version Kunsthalle DüsseldorfCourtesy the artist and Gallery Vermelho, São PauloPhoto: Katja Illner

Cinthia Marcelle, Hunting Ground / Chão da caça, 2017 (detail)
2018 version Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
Courtesy the artist and Gallery Vermelho, São Paulo
Photo: Katja Illner

Video


Sup­port­ed by

Sigma
Staco
Hans Böckler Stiftung