Pussy Riot! Theaster Gates! Ai Weiwei! The Kunstraum Niederoesterreich is devoted to art that intervenes in politics and society. What effect can art have today and what means of articulation and scopes of action does it possess to face political and socio-economic conflicts? With “Touch the Reality. Rethinking Keywords of Political Performance” the Kunstraum takes a special look at art that strives for social and political change.
“Touch the Reality” showcases concepts and practices that transfer artistic work into a socio-political domain and how they employ an aesthetic of the performative, artivism, and the public space in the process. To what extent do contemporary performance practices affect a repoliticization of art and society? How can a discussion of these issues access new territories? How can new forms of articulation evolve in a direct exchange with artistic practices? A cause of present day conflicts, according to philosopher Jacques Rancière, can be found in an ambivalent understanding of democracy, which possesses a growing potential for conflict, as current political developments illustrate.
A focus of the exhibition – realised in a cooperation between the Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Austrian Federal Chancellery, and KulturKontakt Austria and its artist-in-residence programme – is the exchange between the Cuban artists José Fidel García, Grethell Rasúa, Dania González Sanabria, and Susana Pilar, who reside in Vienna for three months, with Vienna-based artists in the development of joint projects.