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VALIE EXPORT. Fragments of a Touch
Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden presents the solo exhibition “VALIE EXPORT. Fragments of a Touch” from October 31st until December 31st, 2020. The exhibition focuses on installations and groups of works that highlight a special moment in the artist’s œuvre: touch. The theme of touch is not only to be understood in the physical sense but also includes a media-reflective level. It functions as a definition of the border or even as the transition between realities: between image and space, matter and emptiness, body and environment. Especially in times of social distancing and the Covid-19 pandemic, the theme of the exhibition takes on a special relevance: will it still be possible this year to return to old patterns of behaviour and contact or will the theme of contact and touch remain fragmented, as indicated in the exhibition title?
The pointing to and crossing of boundaries can be found in various media in the œuvre of VALIE EXPORT – both in room-sized installations and in her films. The exhibition will thus show that the means and forms of expression used by VALIE EXPORT are often based on precise observations and analyses of social and media constructions. VALIE EXPORT is considered a pioneer of “expanded cinema”, conceptual photography, installation, performance, work with text and theory. This is also reflected in the selection of works for the solo exhibition: Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden presents not only large room installations but also a selection of her cinematic work, which is presented in a separate cinema space. The exhibition departs from the usual chronological arrangement of monographic exhibitions and also from the frequently exhibited works from the early creative years of EXPORT. Rather, it follows a deliberate curatorial decision that emphasizes the complexity and interlocking of the most diverse works and media in order to show the development of the artistic motifs, their semantic shifts, their divergent media character, and the diversity of approaches to the theme of touch.
The exhibition is curated by Luisa Heese and Hendrik Bündge, together with Carolin Potthast.
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Boris Mikhailov was born in 1938 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Today he is regarded as one of the most important artists in contemporary photography. Since the 1960s he has been experimenting with the possibilities of the medium through his performative-conceptual approach. The human body – including that of the artist himself – is at the centre of his artistic practice, and he fuses the dark with the humorous. By combining critical thinking with a playful approach, he often takes his subjects to the limits of normative showability.
His exploration of the human body as a site of social inscriptions is accompanied by his complicity with the people in front of and behind the camera as well as a self-reflexive, analytical-ironical approach, which shows his proximity to the Moscow Conceptualists.
The large-scale exhibition »The Space Between Us« at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden assembles numerous series of works spanning the time from 1965 to today, and focuses on precisely that pronounced conceptualism underlying Boris Mikhailov’s body of work.
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