Radical Passivity: Politics of the Flesh

neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK), Berlin, Germany
11 Sep 2020 - 01 Nov 2020

Andrea Winkler, Vests, 2019.

Andrea Winkler, Vests, 2019.

In three “scenes” the exhibition deals with new forms of sensibility and corporeality in the arts. The themes range from discussions of pain, addiction and arousal (scene 1), to the idea of a new digital corporeality (scene 2), to questions of the social shaping of a no-longer subject-centred sensitivity (scene 3).

The exhibition takes its cue from Paul B. Preciado’s biopolitical theory that the form of power in today’s society is “pharmacopornographic”: the way humans are subjectivized, he claims, operates on one level via pharmaceuticals (i.e. medicines, hormones, stimulants, tranquilizers, narcotics, etc.). On another level, today’s form of power functions via arousal, meaning not only the porn industry but also other social mechanisms that obey the masturbatory logic of “arousal—frustration—arousal.” These regulatory mechanisms are applied to the sensitive flesh in its nervous exposure, sensibility and vulnerability.

The artworks in the show highlight the links between power, illness, sex, excessive sensitivity and art. They focus attention on the involuntary and the obsolete, and question politics of affect-based address. As well as works from the 1960s and 1980s, the exhibition features mainly contemporary work addressing those areas in art and life that are not subject to choice, outside the individual’s scope for action. Frailty, ageing, exhaustion and mortality, but also birth, vulnerability and the capacity for arousal are understood here as phenomena of radical passivity, as an artistic critique of the supposedly governability of corporeal being.

Curators: Kathrin Busch and Ilse Lafer

With: aLifveForms (cared for by J.P. Raether), Jimmy DeSana, Sophia Eisenhut/ Christian Kölbl, Till Gathmann, Oliver Husain/ Kerstin Schroedinger, Jeroen Jacobs, KAYA, Richard Kern/ Lydia Lunch, Jutta Koether, Andreas Langfeld, Deana Lawson, Lee Lozano, N.O. Madski, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Henrik Olesen, Ovartaci, Vika Prokopaviciute, Eran Schaerf, Alina Szapocznikow, Paul Thek, Wu Tsang, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Marianne Wex, Andrea Winkler a.o.

Part of the exhibition will travel to the HGB gallery, Leipzig.

September 11, 1–11pm,
Opening: “Aesthetics of Affect: Pain and Arousal” – scene 1 of the exhibition + program

October 2, 2020, from 12pm
Opening scene 2 »Digital Corporeality« with program of events

October 16, 2020, from 12pm
Opening scene 3 “Politics of the flesh” with program of events

A cooperation project of the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) and the Gesellschaft für künstlerische Forschung in Deutschland (gkfd)

Partner of the Berlin Art Week



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