Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A seminar that discussed nuances of contemporary art practices

As part of its Meet-the-Curator program organized by the Bangalore division of Max Mueller Bhavan, Austrian curator Kathrin Rhomberg held a discussion on contemporary art practices last month.

She was curator of the Berlin Biennial 6, Berlin (2010), and an advisor and corresponding member of Secession, Vienna. Previously Rhomberg was director of the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne from 2002–2007 and curator and exhibition organizer at Secession, Vienna from 1994–2001. She is co-founder, together with Maria Hlavajova, of the tranzit network, which supports exchange and contemporary art practices in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.

The art expert began with the screening of a documentary. Made by late German filmmaker Christoph Schlingensief and styled on the international reality series from UK Big Brother, it draws parallels between the show’s contestants who are locked in together for the duration of the series and Jews in concentration camps.

The documentary was deemed controversial after it was released in 2001. The curator discussed the prevalence of right-wing nationalism and how it interferes with artistic growth in her country. The documentary was followed by a feedback session where the discussion dwelled on how contemporary art thrives within its socio-political paradigm.

“Anything can be defined as contemporary art. It encompasses all creativity,” the art expert said. With many artists claiming to be following the ‘contemporary’ genre, it’s difficult to differentiate those belonging to modernist and post-modernist ages. “The end of the cold-war could be pitched as the point which marked the emergence of contemporary art,” she stated. Details like these helped participants better understand contemporary art.

The Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore, (founded in 1960) offers language courses, organises cultural events and has a Library. It also initiates and organizes contacts and study tours for Indian artists, scientists and journalists who wish to go to Germany. We would like to support them in their roles as promoters of culture and pave the way for future international and cultural cooperation.

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