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Jena is moved by art

The art exhibition ‘Fire Protection // Mentalities of Intolerance' will be opened on 21st September
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Large, golden letters gleam on a black surface: at the campus building of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) a four meter long banner beckons from afar, covered in sweeping lines of writing. Square dots are scattered above and beyond the letters. At first glance they look like Arabic script. But those who look more closely can - all at once - read the script very clearly. It reads: "At first glance many things seem incomprehensible."

The artwork by the Viennese agency Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann is titled 'Look Twice' and is part of the new exhibition 'Fire Protection // Mentalities of Intolerance', which is presented by the chair of Art History of the University of Jena in collaboration with the Art Association Jena. From tomorrow onwards the people of Jena and visitors of the city are invited to convince themselves of the advantages of looking at things closely and to question their first impression. They can find out that an instant of puzzlement can turn into an eye-opening experience - not only on the University campus but all over the city. From 21st September until 10th November the exhibition of contemporary art will be shown at a number of different places in the city. Everyone is invited to the opening on Saturday (21st September) at 11 am at the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus).

The highly dangerous potential of intolerant attitudes

"The title of the exhibition 'BrandSchutz - Fire Protection' refers to the dangers of intolerant attitudes within our society," the initiator of the exhibition project, Prof. Dr. Verena Krieger, explains. "Xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, nationalism, sexual discrimination, social hatred and authoritarian thinking are to a terrifying degree widespread." Acts of violence, like the series of murders of the neo-national socialist terror organization NSU, were only the tip of the iceberg, the Art Historian of the University of Jena continues. "The frighteningly wide foundation of this iceberg however is formed by world views and mentalities with extreme right-wing leanings - but those who express them would not consider themselves as being right-wing extremists."

The idea behind the multi-faceted art project is to serve as 'fire protection', to act as a preventive shield against this threatening situation. The exhibits of contemporary art are supposed to alert to those mentalities of intolerance which might otherwise encourage the growth of right-wing extremism. Accordingly, the Jena exhibition presents new work of German and international artists who deal with the subject in a subtle, provoking, ironical or emotionally touching manner. In total 21 artists are taking part, amongst them are names like the internationally well-known Danica Dakić or Elmgreen & Dragset, young and upcoming talent like Nico Sommer or Yvon Chabrowski as well as artists like Jochen Gerz and Christoph Schlingensief with a well-established track-record in their critical questioning of right-wing mentalities. Work in different genres and media will be on show - from oil paintings over photography to short films and installations.

Art works in ten public spaces

"What makes this exhibition so special is the fact that it is spread out in ten places in the city centre of Jena at the same time and that they can be seen by everyone, free of charge," Wolfram Stock, chairman of the Jena Art Association and co-organiser of the show says. In this way many intentional and unintentional encounters with the art works are possible. "Even those people who don't follow contemporary art get the chance to be surprised by it."

"Art will come to the people and not the other way around," Verena Krieger explains. "At the end of the day we don't want to address only those who are interested in art anyway; we want to reach a wide audience." The exhibition wants to engage as many people as possible in the art works in order to raise their awareness and perception of intolerance and question their - potentially - own hidden resentments.

Participating Artists
Akademie einer anderen Stadt. Knobloch & Vorkoeper, Alfredo Barsuglia, Yvon Chabrowski, Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann/Dana Yahalomi, Danica Dakić, Sujin Do, Markus Döhne, Elmgreen & Dragset, Slawomir Elsner, Martina Geiger-Gerlach, Jochen Gerz, Milovan DeStil Marković, Graeme Miller, Susan Philipsz, Adrian Piper, Lisl Ponger, Christoph Schlingensief/Paul Poet, Nico Sommer, Viktoria Tremmel, Nasan Tur, Christoph Wetzel

Exhibition Venues
Galerie Stadtspeicher, Altes Rathaus, Stadtmuseum, Stadtkirche St. Michael, Frommannscher Garten, Kunsthof, Romantikerhaus, Sparkasse, Uni-Campus, Imaginata

Dates and Information
Accompanying the exhibition there will be guided tours, theme nights and a series of films. Dates and further information can be found at:

Prof. Dr. Verena Krieger
Department of Art History
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Fürstengraben 18, D-07743 Jena
Phone: ++49 3641 / 944160




Meldung vom: 2013-09-20 12:00
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