In the collapse of the liberal capitalist world order, its illiberal core is exposed – the unfreedom of the dispossessed and the willingness of the propertied to use violence. Art, too, is the venue for these forces. A project on artistic life’s work: Perhaps what became art doesn’t necessarily have to remain art?
The liberal capitalist world order that prevailed after 1989 is today in a stage of advanced disintegration. The collapse of this order exposes the illiberal core of its freedoms and forms of ownership shaped by the market: the violent unfreedoms of the dispossessed as well as the willingness of the propertied to use violence. Art, too, reveals itself as the venue of these forces and their exclusions: Through the downfall of liberality, the modern institution of “veranstaltlichte Kunst” (“institutionalized art”, Arnold Hauser) and its social legitimacy are also increasingly called into question.
The exhibition and publication project Illiberal Arts is a search for forms concerning an artistic “Lebensarbeit” (“life’s work”, Lu Märten, publicist and art critic, 1879–1970) initiated with international artists, poets and authors. In the cracks of the decaying forms of market accumulation, anti-identitarian, communal horizons burst open, as do collective forms of perception and political spontaneities. The project subjects these to a practical test. For Lu Märten, “a person’s whole life’s work” was considered artistic; what was artistic didn’t always have to become art. Perhaps what became art doesn’t necessarily have to remain art either.
From the press text of Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Photos by Studio Bowie/HKW.