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'Venture Into the Public Realm', Group Show at Halle für Kunst Lüneburg

The group show »Venture Into the Public Realm« (»Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit«) is a conceptual continuation of the exhibition »About Doing« (»Vom Handeln«) that took place at the Halle für Kunst in spring of 2018. Against the background of a »new inwardness« or »new subjectivity« that can be observed in contemporary artistic practices, the intention then was to place the focus on the theme of »action«. Here »action« is understood not as »practice«, however, but in the sense of Hannah Arendt’s thoughts on active life, elaborated in The Human Condition, that is lived in a relation to the world, meaning out of interest in or caring for the world.

According to Arendt, the condition of all political action is to expose oneself in one’s activities, that is, to posit oneself in the eye of the public. For humanity can be achieved »only by the one who has thrown his life and his person into the ‘venture into the public realm’«. The venture Arendt speaks of and that derives as a thought and concept from her teacher Karl Jaspers is true not only of political action, but of any form of becoming public and thus of the practice of art as well. Making and especially showing art always has to do with putting the personal at stake in the public realm and is therefore a venture; it is not only the endeavour of making what one has created visibly, but goes hand in hand with vulnerability and exposure.

These considerations are now the the starting point of the current exhibition. Especially considering the revival of subjective and »authentic« motifs in present-day contemporary art, the aspect of putting the personal at risk if one wants to reach the other is highly interesting, and, one could say, the reflective contribution that the exhibition seeks to make. For exposing one’s own person in artistic work simultaneously marks the fine line associated with the danger of purely subjective , and in the worst case indentitary-regressive navel-gazing. On the other hand, one can also observe many artworks in the wake of a »new authenticity« that virtually parade the subjective as a style, thus bringing the stake of the personal into disrepute, albeit in an entirely different way. But to consequently abandon the personal entirely also appears to be too short-sighted. 

So it is an entirely complex matter. The exhibition focuses on the associated tension, the complex relationship, which may even turn out to be a contradiction in terms, and the question of what personal involvement could look like against this background. No less interesting, however, is the thread of interest that could be developed further from there. For if being personally interwoven is the precondition for reaching the other, then it is also one of the conditions that form the foundation of community. 

31.10.20 — 31.1.21

Jana Euler, Juliette Blightman, Barbara Bloom, Bernadette Van-Huy, Sofia Duchovny and Annette Wehrmann

Photo by Fred Dott

Halle für Kunst Lüneburg

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