Cover picture: Müller & Sohn from the perspective of a find.
Exhibition of the artist members
August 24 – September 22, 2019
Opening: Friday, August 23, 2019, 7 p.m.
Müller & Sohn will be represented in the exhibition.
The present has always been the past. It is experienced collectively and at the same time personally. It manifests itself through actions in public and private, political and poetic, measurable and felt here and now. The present, when it comes to light as a supposedly objective past – as for example in historiography – is marked by the realism of “hard” facts. That even historiography is only a narrative that is neither factual nor all-encompassing, but rather ideological, shaped by power relations, dominant interests and equally subjective and aesthetic language forms*, is often ignored. Moreover, the present is always the future. And the more it shrinks to ever smaller units of time, which we call progress and/or growth, the more the horizon seems to darken over what was and what is to come: let us think only of the shifts in the global climate. Nothing that is or was, however, is necessarily as it is or was. It could also be/have been quite different.
“If there is a sense of reality, there must also be a sense of possibility,” writes Robert Musil in The Man without Qualities (1930), summarizing this as follows:
“The one who possesses it [the sense of possibility], for example, does not say: Here this or that happened, will happen, must happen; but he invents: Here could, should or must happen; and when one tells him of anything that it is as it is, then he thinks: Well, it could probably be different. So the sense of possibility could almost be defined as the ability to think everything that might be just as good and not to take what is more important than what is not”.
But the subjunctive “could nevertheless” tears a gap that is as creative as it is critical into the present, a gap that couples what has been with what is to come, that is, with a future of which we cannot yet know anything.
The Fridays for Future demonstrations are carried by a generation that, as the older generation often claims, lacks life experience. What these young people demand and demand back is a future, a life experience yet to come, which is currently being taken away from them. They accuse a generation that, despite or because of its critical thinking, has become accustomed and adapted to those economic, industrial, military and political conditions that can completely destroy any future livelihood. The sense of possibility that this insurrection offers us is aimed at breaking with the seemingly factual and at the demand that “everything that could be just as good should be thought of and that which is should not be taken more seriously than that which is not”.
Do what? Art has many examples ready, which in a critical, ironic, poetic, political and/or activist way create alternative world models in which past and future are reinvented as possibilities. This year’s exhibition of the artist members of the Württembergischer Kunstverein aims to trace this potential and therefore asks for submissions by June 30, 2019 (postmark). What is in demand are works that revolve around how what is or was could also be different in a variety of ways and with a variety of means.
*The American historian Hayden White analyzed historiography as a literary genre and divided it into the rhetorical figures of metaphor, metonymy, synekdoch, and irony. See: Hayden White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination of the 19th Century in Europe, Frankfurt am Main 1991 (Original: 1973).