How is history written? Whose mission is it to write it? Which tools are used to examine and evaluate historical events and to disseminate knowledge about them? How about the objectivity of scholarly research and the historic documents on which it is based? Both have recently fallen into disrepute, with much doubt cast on their credibility. What is the legitimacy of visual artists who address historical themes and events in contemporary history with their own resources and distinctive methodologies?
The first thematic exhibition under the aegis of the Museum der Moderne’s new director initiates a discussion of a central component of the museum’s mission: to constitute history by means of artifacts. It takes a broad perspective, looking beyond the domain of art history to focus on works with a specific frame of reference: art that reflects on history and contemporary events as well as its own involvement. The works on display span the period from the sixteenth century to the present. The exhibition launches a dialogue with the museum’s own and other local collections, with different viewpoints and artistic practices; that includes the mechanisms and phenomena of the art world.
A painting by Jörg Immendorff and Felix Droese from 1974 in the museum’s collection bears the inscription “Neuer Krieg — Neue Kunst” (“New War—New Art”). And indeed, contemporary art from crisis regions has functioned in many survey shows of the past years like an arsenal catering to an art world hungry for novelty. All in all, the exhibition presents art and artists engaged with history in a broad historical framework, looking back on its origins as well as its current manifestations. The exhibition is also laid out just as broadly in terms of the space in which it presents itself, extending between the two buildings of the Museum der Moderne — on Mönchsberg and at the Rupertinum.
The exhibition is organized by the MdM Salzburg.
Curators: Sabine Breitwieser together and Christina Penetsdorfer
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