Gelegenheit und Reue



herbst-Parcours 16.10. und 4.11.2004

Grazer Kunstverein

Production specifics
Koproduktion steirischer herbst mit Grazer Kunstverein

For the Greeks in the Golden Age time was a series of propitious moments – and could be represented as such in the figure of the God of Cairo. In the somewhat rare allegorical representations of opportunity and regret, we see reflected the conflict between time as an enduring, stable tempus and occasion as a fleeting, or even fleeing occasio. The Ferraro painter Girolamo da Carpi chose this theme for his depiction of 'opportunity and regret' which has been dated back to the mid-16th century and can now be seen in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden.

This painting acts as the initial point of departure for this year's exhibition of the Grazer Kunstverein as part of the steirischer herbst art festival.

In da Carpi's allegorical picture we see a young, beaming Cairo that calls Dionysos to mind. He is standing tip-toe on a sphere, he has winged feet and is holding a sharp knife in his hand. Half turned away from the picture we see a cloaked Regret: she is the figure that remains behind.

With regard to the theme of this year's steirischer herbst, and of course against the background of permanent crisis, we shall be dealing with the issue of possibilities for transformation and resistance within a permanently self-generating society in which opportunity is considered a virtue, and the seizing of opportunities is seen as the order of the day.

From the perspective of contemporary art, therefore, we are dealing with the pattern of possibility as a potential force. In accordance with Aristoteles, this also includes the option of not being a potential force: only potential forces which are capable of leading in equal measure to potency and impotency can be called the highest power.

If we look at the example of Bartleby, the writer who does not simply stop writing, but 'prefers not to' write, it becomes clear that refusal is not a practical instrument for handling a crisis. Instead, it tends to constitute 'not being in on the act', meaning it is a potential force that is centred on its potency, as Giorgio Agamben put it.

The da Carpi painting does not indicate a linear form of narrative. Instead, and more to the point, it assumes a viewer intent on questioning the significance of a work of art. This form of allegorical representation, which was long considered a baser form of art compared to symbolic representation, has witnessed a comeback since the 1970s. Craig Owens in particular accentuates the importance of allegory in contemporary art. The 'opportunity and regret' exhibition takes an allegory as its starting point while, and what is more, seizing upon allegorical forms of representation.

Kuratorin / Kurator: Eva Maria Stadler
Künstlerin / Künstler / Gruppe: Francis Alys
Künstlerin / Künstler / Gruppe: Uwe Henneken
Künstlerin / Künstler / Gruppe: Kerstin Kartscher
Künstlerin / Künstler / Gruppe: Marcin Maciejowski
Künstlerin / Künstler / Gruppe: Kirsten Pieroth
Künstlerin / Künstler / Gruppe: Ulrike Ottinger
Künstlerin / Künstler / Gruppe: Hans Weigand