from 1994-09-29 to 1994-11-20
opening date: 1994-09-29
Our media convey attitudes and positions which are conditioned to a certain extent by real dependences (funding, sponsorship, interest groups) but also by public images and values.
Like any other media, forms of artistic expression or acts function as information carriers which, being dependent on the reality construct of a social system, must be considered within that context.
"The most important quality of an art critic is his ability to make judgments - judgments on what he appreciates and what he does not appreciate." (cf. Kunstforum, Jan./Feb. 1994, p.230, "Modernismus oder Barbarei", Karlheinz Lüdeking interviews Clement Greenberg.) In art, it is art history itself which exerts the most influential censorship. Any criticism of censorship becomes questionable, however, if it focusses "only" on the freedom of artistic expression rather than on civil rights and liberties in general. Cultural differences are always the expression of ideological conflicts between opposing views on sexuality, religion, women's rights, family values, etc. which cannot be isolated from the political debate.
Censorship has been conceived to contribute to the discussion of art in the context by which it is determined, particulary of the issue of what - when, where and why - was rejected or could not be accepted as well as the effects of censorship on the persons or institutions concerned. Since recent examples of censorship from politically totalitarian or formerly totalitarian systems have created a distorted image of censorship and its application in the democratic West, the examples we have selected refer to Western Europe (German speaking countries) and the U.S. In the U.S., owing to the increasingly difficult economic situation since the early eighties, problems such as AIDS, drug abuse, crime, migration and minorities, e.g. homosexuals, have become new scarecrows, superseding the "cold war" ideology; censorship has become one of the most frequently discussed cultural issues. In the U.S. countless foundations and grassroots institutions offer (partial) support to all kinds of people suffering form discrimination and censorship. In Europe, there is an almost total lack of such institutions.
Censorship is ambivalent in that it both clearly infringes on freedom but can also be used as a safeguard against discrimination.
Thematically, the exhibition is geared to discussions of current political issues. It aims at increasing our awareness of censorship as a result of everyday discrimination rather than looking at prominent examples which keep making the headlines. It presents censored works and activities as well as projects focusing on censorship and discrimination.
Geschwister Odradek (AU), Joseph Felix Müller (CH), Anonym, Lukas Pusch (AU), Ruedi Fricker (CH), Franz Gretler (CH), Thomas Locher (D), NGBK (Berlin), Ulrike Holthöfer (Düsseldorf), Grazer Kunstverein (AU), Wohlfahrtsausschüsse (D), Four Walls (USA), Paper Tiger TV (USA), Deep tish TV (USA), Ligorsano/Reese (USA), Magdalena Z'Graggen, Günter Jacob (CH), Hubert Lobnig (AU)