When you regard current events, the world seems to be out of joint: Wars of all kinds are being fought bitterly, climate change threatens relentlessly, the financial markets are going crazy, and political and social structures seem to be falling apart. Art has always translated the upheavals of the times seismographically into valid metaphors. The exhibition “World Out of Joint (Welt aus den Fugen)” demonstrates how contemporary art responds to today’s acute issues such as climate change, artificial intelligence, crypto-evolution, ecology, identity politics and migration through nine expansive installations by international artists of the younger generation. Since the 1960s, the installation has developed into an essential form of art. It confronts the audience with an abundance of information and a range of simultaneous events that constantly challenge the receptivity—an omnipresent condition in today’s knowledge society. In spatial installations, classical art forms are hardly encountered anymore; they are presented mainly with everyday objects, ready-mades and new media. The spectators find themselves in the middle of the work, all senses are addressed and especially film, video, light, sound and smells expand the usual aesthetic experience into a holistic experience. Inner density is generated continuously by arranging the numerous impressions subjectively and assembling them situationally. Through the use of new digital media, installations have gained additional complexity. The clear demarcation between artwork and audience disintegrates in favour of multimedia spaces in which the world virtually seems out of joint. Whereas in everyday life people are concerned with reducing complexity, in installations they expose themselves willingly to an often overwhelming abundance of simultaneous phenomena. The multifarious information, impressions and aesthetic stimuli cannot be grasped in the linear scheme of cause and effect; instead, they spread out in space and time. This conscious attention to a narrative form that demands time stands in contrast to today’s fast pace. It is precisely this immersion in complex microcosms, which are completed only through one’s own participation, that enables a new form of insight. The installations on display at the Kunst Museum Winterthur were created over the last ten years, some of them especially for the exhibition. Despite differing approaches by the artists, they illustrate that perception and the production of meaning no longer originate in a universally valid and long-term manner under the auspices of digital networking, individualisation and real-time communication, but are subject to a heterogeneous process of permanent change. In formal terms, this is due to the way installations work, and in terms of content, it results from the complex social issues with which the artists deal. Taking these factors into account, the exhibition aims to capture the widespread impression of a world out of joint, in which ambivalences have to be endured up to the threshold of pain – in order to reinterpret them productively.
at Kunst Museum Winterthur
until August 14, 2022