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ANTARCTICA. An Exhibition on Alienation.


“Without alienation there is no art, and ultimately it is only art that prevents total alienation.” Theodor W. Adorno.

Alienation has always been a dominant concern for sociologists and philosophers: the alienation of man from society through individualization, alienation from nature through urbanization, alienation from work through mechanization. No wonder artists started to deal with this concern too, by analyzing the role of art in and for society.

Already the name of the exhibition, “Antarctica”, refers, metaphorically to alienation: to feel cold means to feel deeply alienated.

The concept relates to a sketch of a possible motion picture noted by Michelangelo Antonioni in the 1960s: “The glaciers of Antarctica are moving in our direction at a rate of three millimeters per year. Calculate when they’ll reach us. Anticipate, in a film, what will happen”.

It is a condensed image for a life in which genuine feelings are buried beneath a glacier of rigid convention. Nothing else than a new form of alienation which developed as a consequence to the protest against “social coldness” and against the “rigidification” of the middle-class society in the 1960s: coldness and rigidity are replaced by liquefaction and dynamism - alienation, however, remains in the now self-optimizing society.

This is exactly the framework in which the exhibition “Antarctica” sets foot: a “relationship based on the absence of a relationship.”

Showing many contemporary artworks, the exhibition explores how the term “alienation” functions in our world today. The works look at the interplay between identity and dis identity, and the disunion of person and role prompted by the awareness of self-alienation in modernity, as well as the (ostensible) absence of alienation from today’s “new workplaces”.

The exhibition also addresses the following question: What other forms of relationship to the self and to the world do we need? Before we can even begin to create something like a space supportive of self-determination and self-realization?

This captivating and inspiring exhibition is on display until February 17th 2019 at the Kunsthalle in Vienna at their MuseumsQuartier site; discover all you need to know when you download the Cloudguide app !

Supported by

Booking Booster
European Commission Seal of Excellence
Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte
Techstars Paris