Dystopia :: CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux

The exhibition Dystopia is the offshoot of a screenplay proposed by the American science-fiction writer and theoretician Mark von Schlegell. In this screenplay, which has acted as a basis for the exhibition’s construction by Mark von Schlegell and Alexis Vaillant, a curator at the CAPC, dystopia, or utopia’s wretched flipside, has been taken not as an end but as a beginning.

Against a backdrop of world crisis, contemporary art is faced by its own theoretical termination, within a reality laid completely bare. The utopian avant-garde is itself perceived as being in cahoots with a destructive consumerist capitalism whose fatal course seems impossible to slow down. For Mark von Schlegell, the traditional Dystopia coming from the Enlightenment and understood as “the imaginary place or condition in which everything is as bad as possible” [Oxford English Dictionary] offers contemporary art a possible future.

Immersed in the present, dystopian art presumes a weakest-possible point of view within an unresolved fictional narrative presumed to be worsening. As with the theory of black holes birthing new universes within them, it is within concentrated dystopia that the actual utopias appear. It is based on the non-place of dystopia that utopia is conceived in its ideal and uncertain dimensions. Something which prompts Mark von Schlegell to say that: “Dystopia is today.”

As he notes: “As the last bright days of the industrial age wane and the damage is everywhere assessed, at best the irony of art’s position is total. At worst, art can at least say this about itself: it occupies a position that from conflicting many-points-of-view is genuinely apocalyptic” [http://semiotextes.com/?page-id=167]. For him, art’s ability to dramatize its powerlessness in the face of a complex and monolithic cultural system offers the start of a narrative, with many possibilities. The exhibition ushers in a mapping of these possibilities.

The sculptures, installations, paintings, performances, films and publications of 46 international artists, some established, others burgeoning, are being shown throughout the ground floor of the CAPC. Haunted by flaws and disorder, the works can be seen as much as apocalyptic visions as abstract speculations addressing the present. As von Schlegell wished, they encourage a reading of the show as a work of fiction, as is attested to by the book accompanying the exhibition, and written in tandem with it. Titled New Dystopia, this illustrated book is Mark von Schlegell’s latest novel. The exhibition, for its part, is divided into two parts. On the one hand, a dystopian landscape arrayed in the CAPC’s nave and devised like a John Carpenter film set and, on the other, seven rooms or cells where, in a reflective way, the works explore the dystopian aspects of our day and age. Lastly, with all the museum’s windows covered by blood-red cellophane, the whole presentation is plunged into a “Fahrenheit-red” colour bath, which conjures up a world that is as if caught in a sort of on-going sunset.

Works by
Wallace Berman / Cosima von Bonin / Brian Calvin /Tony Carter / Marc Camille Chaimowicz / Peter Coffin / Simon Denny / Andreas Dobler / Roe Ethridge / Keith Farquhar / Hans-Peter Feldmann / Aurélien Froment / Cyprien Gaillard / Isa Genzken / Dan Graham / Robert Grosvenor / Sebastian Hammwöhner / Roger Hiorns / Ull Hohn / Des Hughes / Peter Hutchinson / Sergej Jensen / On Kawara / Michael Krebber / Jesús Mari Lazkano / Rita McBride / John Miller / Pathetic Sympathy Seekers / Manfred Pernice / Stephen G. Rhodes / Glen Rubsamen / Sterling Ruby / Julia Scher / Frances Scholz / Michael Scott / Markus Selg / Reena Spaulings / Michael Stevenson / Tommy Støckel / Josef Strau / Blair Thurman / Mathieu Tonetti / Oscar Tuazon / Franz West / Jordan Wolfson

catastrophe Eugène Isabey
curator Alexis Vaillant

May 14 – August 28, 2011
CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux
Entrepôt. 7, rue Ferrère
F-33000 Bordeaux, France

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  1. dania wrote:

    chi ha parlato di eclissi…
    i colori sono fantastici! un attimo prima della catastrofe >>> tramontophotoshoptrip

  2. admin wrote:

    E’ vero, anche a me piacciono molto queste sperimentazioni cromatiche, sono congruenti con l’immaginario trattato!