Ho Rui An, Student Bodies, 2019, Videostill. © Ho Rui An

Illiberal Lives – Conversation with the curators and the artists

Exhibition tour and conversation with the participating artists Blaise Kirschner, Henrike Naumann, Melika Ngombe Kolongo, Mikołaj Sobczak & Jordan Strafer, as well as the curators Eva Birkenstock, Anselm Franke, Holger Otten, and Kerstin Stakemeier.

With Pauline Curnier Jardin, Johanna Hedva, Ho Rui An, Blaise Kirschner, Jota Mombaça, Henrike Naumann, Melika Ngombe Kolongo, Bassem Saad, Mikołaj Sobczak, and Jordan Strafer and, selected by the artists, a rehanging of works from the collections at the Ludwig Forum Aachen of Vincent Desiderio, Jann Haworth, Renato Guttuso, Jörg Immendorff, Magdalena Jetelová, Lev Efimovič Kerbel, Konrad Klapheck, Klaus Paier, Andy Warhol, among other.

The disintegration of the liberal-capitalist post-war order which seemed firmly established after 1989 also left its mark on the art of this society. The upcoming exhibition probes how, with the dissolution of the liberal promise of progress, the unfree, illiberal core of modern freedoms inevitably surfaces, and the liberal fiction of art as a space of expression for bourgeois freedom also comes under increasing pressure. Where art is not just defending these properties, or making itself subservient to the invocation of national communities, it is increasingly crystallising at present as a practical scene of social conflicts and exclusions. The invited artists are always also re-situating the post-fascist history of an institution whose collections are intractably associated with the rhetoric of the bloc confrontation between East and West in the post-war period, and the liberal narrative of “free” and “unfree” art.

Image: Ho Rui An, Student Bodies, 2019, Videostill. © Ho Rui An

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