The Demonstrating Minds exhibition looks at a highly topical theme: art as social commentary. Throughout history, artists have shown varying degrees of interest in commenting on world affairs and changing social values. If the political climate of the 1960s was imbued with an earnest hope for a better tomorrow, any such remaining innocence has been stamped out by the arrival of the 2010s, an era in which extremist groups have strengthened their foothold and polarization has grown in various parts of the world. Any faith we might have in humankind’s ability to live harmoniously alongside others who think and believe differently has been thrust onto shaky ground.
Most of the works featured in Demonstrating Minds do not simply address a specific conflict or recent world event; rather they make a statement of a more universal yet also particular nature, often framed through metaphor or a deeply personal perspective.
Artists in the exhibition are Kader Attia, Sylvie Blocher, Tanja Boukal, Vadim Fishkin, Rainer Ganahl, Lise Harlev, Clara Ianni, Amal Kenawy, Cristina Lucas, Goshka Macuga, Cinthia Marcelle & Tiago Mata Machado, Jonathan Meese, Tom Molloy, Tanja Muravskaja, R.E.P. Revolutionary Experimental Space, Mika Rottenberg, Jari Silomäki, Mladen Stilinović and Suohpanterror.
The title and key connecting thread of the Demonstrating Minds exhibition is the French philosopher Jacques Rancière’s theory on politics as dissensus, the foundation upon which democracy is based. Art, too, is at its most potent when permitted to fulfil its fundamental mandate: to think for itself, speak its own language – and disagree. Curators of the exhibition are Marja Sakari, Kati Kivinen, Patrik Nyberg and Jari-Pekka Vanhala.
The Demonstrating Minds catalogue has essays written by curator, art historian Marja Sakari and media theorist Boris Groys. The publication introduces also all the artists.
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Website