How do we want to navigate ourselves through a world in which constant and complete visibility seems to be the only way to mutual perception? For artists in particular, locating their own identity is a precondition for gaining attention and a basis for being recognised: Pushed to position themselves by these dependencies, artists find themselves forced into a balancing act between institutional demands and their self-determined artistic practice. Thus, it is a matter of weighing up control, of defending one’s own topography. But any disclosure or statement runs the risk of being made marketable by ascriptions and reductions. And those who try to consciously withdraw from exposure may not even be seen as positions in the f irst place. The “crisis of the certainty of what is visible” described by Judith Butler can also be observed in relation to exhibition making—canonical figures are being questioned as such, their right to visibility has been put up for discussion, heroic narratives are crumbling. In this exhibition, our joint reflection on these processes and the search for appropriate curatorial approaches are brought together and explored spatially. In doing so, we offer neither a map nor a formulated goal—rather, we invite you to engage with fragmented images and multifaceted narratives, scenes of transition and pieces of possibilities. How do we want to move between visibility and opacity? How do we want to see and be seen? In his work, which has been the starting and reference point throughout the conception of this exhi-bition project, Jaider Esbell asks in a similar manner: “How can a free flow through categories take place without losing one’s own individuality?”
The group exhibition facets, faces with Jaider Esbell, Lisa Gutscher, Line Lhyne and Jamie Shi of the Curatorial Studies class 2020 opens on October 22, 2021 at 5 pm at the project space fffriedrich.
October 22 – October 31, 2021
Project space fffriedrich
Alte Mainzer Gasse 4-6
60311 Frankfurt am Main
Museums and institutions are currently undergoing a process of reorientation. Their collections are being critically questioned, entrenched works in the established canon are put up for discussion, and heroic narratives are crumbling. In the course of revisioning their own holdings, artists’ identities, whether mediated by themselves or attributed by others, are taking on an increasingly important role in the perception and recognition of artworks. By focusing on societal categories, such as social and cultural origin, gender or sexual orientation of the artists, hegemonic structures in the art historical canon can be revealed and questioned. The targeted marketing of artworks has the potential to complement this canon. However, when the artists’ identities become value categories, there is a risk of false attributions and a reduction of the works to their identitary characteristics alone.
Together, the students of the Master’s programme Curatorial Studies – Theory – History – Criticism at Goethe University Frankfurt and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule have reflected on the curatorial challenges that such identity-focused considerations of artists and their works entail and attempted to translate their thoughts spatially. In their exhibition facets, faces at the project space fffriedrich, four artistic positions are shown reflecting on the role of identities within contemporary institutional and artistic practices. In doing so, the works of Jaider Esbell, Lisa Gutscher, Line Lyhne, and Jamie Shi feature different perspectives, fragmented images, multifaceted narratives, scenes of transition, and pieces of possibilities.
A digital discourse programme will take place as part of the exhibition: Featuring a reading circle to discuss Coco Fusco’s text Decades of Identity Politics with the year’s students on Saturday 23/10/21 at 2 pm, a lecture by art historian Ruth E. Iskin on Monday 25/10/21 at 7pm and an open roundtable discussion with art historian and theorist Isabelle Graw on Friday 29/10/21 at 4pm. Registration is requested: email@example.com.
The exhibition project was initiated as part of the Master’s programme Curatorial Studies – Theory – History – Criticism at Goethe-University and Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and conceived and curated by Luisa Benzinger, Mike Bill, Clara Maria Blasius, Carlotta Döhn, Leonie Chima Emeka, Teresa Heinzelmann, Jasmin Keller, Céline Marten, Sebastian Peter, Alica Sänger and Victor Zaiden
Opening: Friday, 22/10 5 – 9 pm
Saturday – Sunday, 1 – 8 pm
Tuesday – Friday, 3 – 8 pm
Finissage: Sunday, 31/10 5 – 8 pm