Ausstellungsliste nach Galerien
 Ausstellungsliste nach Künstlern

Alexander Brener & Barbara Schurz

"What is the place of Austrian art in the international art system?"

  23.01. - 22.03. 2004


Eröffnung: Donnerstag, 22. Januar 2004, 19.00 Uhr

Hi Viennese art-people, how do you do?!

Actually, there is only one point, which we want to raise in this letter.
The production of art is - since the beginning of Modern art - directly linked to the production of new social and human relations. The most appropriate term for these relations is emancipative. They are based on the historical tradition and on the practice of individual and collective self-realization. That means that these relations are open, transparent, un-alienated, non-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian. These relations must be in opposition to any mythology which would have us believe that only the coming of a "great day of freedom" can generate a new form of more just and direct communication. No, this day doesn't exist! We have to build new human relations here and now, in everyday practice with all our desire, rage and joy.
So art, which at the moment is for the most part only an ideology of art, must be a complex and intensive liberating practice, engendered in the construction of those radical-democratic relations. Neither populist nor anti-science, neither anti-emotional nor anti-intellect - these all being characteristics of elitist and mass culture - this emancipatory culture must be forged from the contribution of multiple groups in struggle, in which economic resistance, the questioning of various forms of authority, artistic activities and everyday life all intersect. Very good. This old dream of free culture bears witness: under the crust of words and concepts, the living reality of non-adaptation to the world of oppression is always crouched ready to spring.
But what about you, Viennese art world? How are you related to this idea of culture as a gift and struggle? Frankly, we think that you, Viennese art people, are very far from this theoretical and practical egalitarian project. It seems, that you can't imagine anything besides the what-is: that is a normalized institutional prefabricated and controlled market routine. Obviously your functioning allows several ideologies, several opinions, several morals. Of course all these (more or less liberal, more or less conservative) ideologies seem to forbid dogmatism and are opposed to repressive order. Very good again. However, you dogmatize and repress in your own very restrictive way. The list of excepted opinions is short. Your ideologies allow several morals, but demand one morality. This is the morality of conformism, obedience and consensus. In the end this is the morality of confusionism, boredom, fatigue, indifference and humiliation.... Your ideologies accept several artistic factions but demand one law: the law of normalization, of smooth functioning. And this law is just the order of police and bureaucracy. In both pop- and academic forms you tend to institutionalize accepted positions, advocated by economic and intellectual authorities. Because of this you prefer the views and values admitted by the political, financial and cultural establishment. You guarantee frictionless fulfillment of expectations of different power divisions: mass-media, tourism, culture, urbanism, advertising, business....
Has this anything to do with the concept of culture as a gift? Has this anything to do with liberation?
Not at all.
This is why we don't trust you and do not respect you. This is why we chose to challenge you and oppose you directly. This is why we can't accept your representations and investments. We think that only a direct critique and undressing of your falseness, just the destruction of your consensus, just fury and laughter in face of your hypocrisy can contribute to the construction of a new culture of self-realization and participation. For sure at the same time positive forces should not be left out: true passion, solidarity, poetry in every action....
There are no limits to creativity. There is no end to subversion.... But you have little in common with it.
Therefore we have just one message for you:
Mind your misery! Face your cowardice! Look at your unconsciousness!

Alexander Brener, Barbara Schurz
2003, December