Critique Is Not Enough

14 February 2003 - 13 April 2003

Shedhalle, Zürich, CH

Art is not enough” was stated in 1997 and the Shedhalle Zürich exhibited an art which criticised social processes. “Critique is not enough”, has since then become clear. Detached positions for critique are no longer credible, critical remarks have become capitalized as production factors, critical art integrated in the leisure attractions of museums and shows… In its engagement for society, art has to become more profound. But how to be involved more deeply without being deprived of ones strength? What would be the strategies, possible departure points, what kind of self-confidence is needed…?
The present exhibition at Shedhalle assembles explorations and experiments with these issues. It presents twenty-seven works of participants from Europe and Overseas, which exceed a mere critique of social institutions by seeking new cooperation or new ways of responding. These works are organised in six thematic sections: culture of production, art and economy, inter-cultural shifts, political alternatives, art produces spaces, art and mass media.
The exhibition was created for Cittadellarte-FondazionePistoletto, where it was shown in summer 2002. Now this production can be seen in a slightly changed form at the Shedhalle in Zürich. This time it is accompanied by three days of workshops.
In the workshop entitled Politics of art, artists report about their works on “the unfinished project of democracy” in which they don’t restrict themselves to reflection, but prepare to actively enter the political arena in new associations or parties. Politicians and visitors are invited to discuss these initiatives.
A second workshop focuses on the relationship between economic and cultural value. What does “value” mean in the western economy of desire? What does “value” mean in an economy producing not only commodities, but increasingly important, signs. In this workshop the artists discuss their role within the economic system they criticise. Do they really constitute “the avant-garde of economy”?
The concluding workshop entitled Critique is not enough is set up for an evaluation of the experiences made in the exhibition. Perhaps it is a beginning – the beginning of a future exhibition, coming in the year 2009, when it will be said that “… is not enough”. What will have turned out not to be enough then?
Dagmar Reichert