Second modernity is a phrase coined by the German sociologist Ulrich Beck (1944), and is his word for the period after modernity. Re-modernity is a renaissance of modernity through realization that not all risks can be controlled. Family, politics, science, and religion were all institutions that promised protection from risks—both natural risks (earthquakes, floods, pandemics, environmental issues) and social risks (unemployment, divorce). In second modernity these systems become part of the problem, not the solution, since they cannot offer the same social integration as they did prior to the 1960s. Finally realising that this is the case, people can reassess the situation and try to come up with new solutions that better reflect the changes brought by this reflexive modernization.
The belief in second modernity is present in the work of the artist shown in this exhibition. Disruption and destruction of the contemporary society due to social changes and the idea that people have to find another way of living in a new world is the central theme.
The work of visual artist and film director Maja Borg
(1982) exists at the intersection of documentary, fiction and experimental film fusing the languages of these genres into a compelling, visually rich and politically astute body of work. Borg’s films are as likely to be seen in film festivals or television as they are in the visual arts context. The artist uniquely succeeds in defying genre expectations and her language seamlessly combines elements of animation, experimental camera and sound techniques with tools of documentary filmmaking. Her films have tackled subjects ranging from investigations of myths and traditions, borders of desire and violence and, most recently, urgent contemporary issues such as the crisis of capitalism and the global environmental and economic downturn, investigating what options one has in such a dystopian landscape. (text: Lina Dzuverovic)
Her work Ottica Zero is inspired by the Italian actress Nadya Cazan who soon after her ‘big break’, disappeared. With TV and film offers flooding in, she refused to accept the competitive and superficial values of the society they represented. Ottica Zero follows Nadya on her search to find an alternative way of living; a quest to discover a means to recycle the whole spectrum of cultures and political ideologies into a new way of managing a global society.
It is a journey which takes us from Rome to Venus, where 93-year-old social innovator and futurist, Jacques Fresco, proposes a solution.
The renowned Dutch-German photographer and artist Ulay
(1943), was one of the leading representatives of body art and performance in the 70’s. Before that time he was already drawn to photography. He enjoyed international fame through his remarkable performances, which he first performed alone and later in collaboration with Marina Abramovic. While Marina was believing more strongly in the ethical and social role of her art, Ulay saw his art as a political act. The political engagement is still present in his work today. In recent years, he has been exploring water springs, rivers, and the accessibility of water. Ulay tries to make water more appreciated and accessible to all, which is one of the key aims of his multidimensional art work. In 2002 Ulay started his water projects and initiated Earth Water Catalogue, an online database, were artists can share there artworks. The aim of this artistic initiative is to raise awareness, enhance understanding and appreciation of, and respect for water.
In 2009 Ulay travelled to Patagonia, a region located at the southern end of South America, territory shared by Argentina and Chile, to document different facets of water. The photographs were taken with a Nokia N82 mobile phone. The low resolutions give the images a nice nuance, incomparable with high definition nature movies.
The three photographs titled The Altars of Difunta Carrera form a triptych. The work focuses on The Myth of Difunta Carrera’s altars. The old Argentinean myth of Difunta Carrera tells the story of a young mother who, together with her baby, embarked on a journey across the infertile plains of the Pampa during the arid days of summer. The story recounts that before they reached the final destination the mother died of dehydration. The baby was found alive shortly-after, laying on his mother’s corpse and feeding from her breast. For many years now, travellers and inhabitants across middle and southern Argentina have erected small altars along the roads to honour the dead mother, Difunta Carrera. There are several thousands of these commemorative altars across the various paths of the Pampa, many of them depicting the image of Difunta Carrera lying on her back with the baby at her breast, resembling Holy Mary with Jesus. Travellers gifted and decorated the altars with numerous water bottles, as a symbol of their devotion and commemoration of the myth.
Architecture, instability, deconstrucion and utopia play a central role in the work of Rob Voerman
(1966). In his sculptures, installations, prints, drawings and paintings he tries to create the architecture of fictive communities living in remote areas or occupying existing citylandscapes. The futuristic architecture is defined by a dialogue between modernism and the forms of old archaic appearances of the farmers-life. In the work Pressure a disrupted modern architecture is partially overgrown and integrated by an archaic way of building. Smoke is rising out of the remains of the building. The spectator sees the landscape from the save surroundings of a wooden shed. The watercolour, Subsiding Landscape, shows a futuristic building in a abandoned, natural landscape against a sunset sky. Because of the material and technique: Voerman used a page of his sketchbook and painted with a loose brushstroke, the work has a sketchy appearance.
The work is Voerman’s attempt to react on the rapidly changing society, an attempt to flee from it and an attempt to reflect on it without any moral judgment. Recent social changes like terror, protectionism, fear for the unknown and the crash between religions have had their impact on his work.
The work of British artist Lucy Wood
(1969) is based on issues dealing with social, political and environmental entrapment. The last 3 years Wood has made expeditions to the US/Mexico border and to the island Lampedusa which has led to a series of exhibitions surrounding issues of global migration and the idea that migrants are trapped economically and politically at home, but also remain trapped en-route and at their final destination.
Recently, following year-long negotiations with the Italian Government, Lucy Wood has been granted ownership of a confiscated migrant fishing boat used to traffic Libyans to Lampedusa during the 2011 conflict. Officially Italian customs registered as TO6411, Lucy Wood’s boat will be single-handedly sailed by the artist from the Italian island of Lampedusa to London during April-May 2013. En-route, Lucy Wood will be documenting her journey, raising awareness and highlighting the perils of people-trafficking from Africa. Her solo voyage will be a floating installation piece that mirrors the journey of fleeing migrants. The boat will act as the visual aid of individual migrant experience and will also be used to host events in relation to migration.
The intended route will include stops in Sicily, Naples, Rome, Genoa, Monaco, Marseille, Arles, Avignon, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, before sailing up the Thames to London. The photographs displayed are photos of the boat and form the first presentation of her ‘grand voyage’ to the public.
The work of Maja Borg is currently also on show at De Appel Amsterdam. Her films have been exhibited at major festivals and venues throughout Europe, including Momentum, the 5th Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, in 2009, Cannes - Short Film Corner, SCANDINAVIAN SHORT FILMS (2009), Tribeca Film Festival, New York, USA (2009), Rotterdam International Film Festival (2008), Raindance Film Festival, London (2008) and East Wing Collection biennial 7: Culture Bound, 2006-2007.
In 1982 Ulay took part in Documenta 7 and in 1987 Documenta 8. From 1999 till 2004 he teached performance at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. His work is held in the permanent collections of Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Sydney, Kunstpalais Erlangen, Museum Ludwig, Köln, Kiasma - Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and other collections in The Netherlands and abroad.
The work of Rob Voerman has recently been on show at ao C24 Gallery (New York), Coda Museum (Apeldoorn), Cobra Museum (Amstelveen), The Art, Design & Architecture Museum at the University of California, HVCCA New York, Bregenzer Kunstverein, Architectural Association London, UCLA Hammer Museum Los Angeles, Generali Foundation Vienna, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein and the Taiwan Museum of Modern Art Taipei. His work is held in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Speyer Family Collection, New York, KKR Office Collection, New York, Deutsche Bank Collection, Generali Foundation and other collections in The Netherlands and abroad.
The work of Lucy Wood has been recently on show at et.al. Landgoed Anningahof, Zwolle, PayneShurvell Gallery, London, National Gallery of Arts, Tirana, Five Years Gallery, London, Showroom MAMA Rotterdam, SMART Project Space Amsterdam and Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow.
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