At a time when the fear of change seems to be tipping over into doubts about the value of freedom and the right-wing fringe in the country is polishing a misleading idea of a so-called German lead culture, it has become all the more important today to appeal to the freedom of art.
At present, the autonomy of art is increasingly being questioned. On the part of liberal milieus, it is examined for its political correctness and, instead of being judged according to artistic criteria, is increasingly being judged from an ethical and moral point of view, which often leads to vehement calls for censorship and taboos. On the other hand, right-wing and right-wing extremists are discovering art and culture as a area of struggle for their agitation and are demanding a set of unifying policies within cultural production.
There are different tendencies in current debates, which run the risk of putting art and its free spaces in the service of self-assurance or political appropriation. One of the most important prerequisites of artistic practice is that it does not orient its independent spaces of possibility according to expedient standards, but rather shapes itself according to its own artistic principles in order to unfold its political impact.
The current exhibition was developed against the background of both the threat to art and its free spaces, as well as in view of the growing shift to the right in Germany, which is attempting to bring questionable constructions of allegedly authentic national culture back into discussion.
The exhibition “Deutschland” shows cross-generational positions of German artists, some of whom directly or indirectly face the history and present of the Federal Republic, and whose works open up resistant and ambivalent spaces that make it clear that there can be no one-to-one definition of “German art” at all. The tables are turned here and the exhibition holds a mirror up to the right-wing debate about the German lead culture by showing hybrid and ambiguous works that do not form any security- or comfort-zones and question the status quo from their respective free artistic experience.
In her exhibition “Fuck your Fear”, the gallery was already concerned with advocating art as a place of provocation and liberation. With her exhibition “Deutschland”, she continues the dialogue about the freedom of art and also exposes illusions of cultural unification using the logic of art.
“(…) For culture is not a luxury we can afford or delete as we please, but the intellectual ground that ensures our inner survival. (Richard von Weizsäcker)
Text: Victoria Tarak, after talks with Daniela Steinfeld, Winter 2019