When things fall apart: Critical voices on the radars

Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark
11 Feb 2016 - 23 Oct 2016

When things fall apart: Critical voices on the radars

Pascale Marthine Tayou. Things fall apart, 2014, detail. Courtesy: Bildrecht Wien and Kunsthaus Bregenz

In his ground breaking 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe staged the decline of a man obstinately struggling against the mutation of his society.

Participating artists: Nidaa Badwan, Rehema Chachage, Tiffany Chung, Arahmaiani Feisal, Regina José Galindo, Milumbe Haimbe, Wambui Kamiru, Dinh Q. Lê, Babirye Leilah, Zen Marie, Thái Tuấn Nguyễn, Pascale Marthine Tayou

Ironically, this 19th century story line seems to ridicule the world of today. For the current abolition of frontiers made virtually possible thanks to the internet — much like the (re)-discovery of lands in past centuries — has, instead of opening up an infinite realm of inspiring encounters, created a vast intersection of fratricidal conflicts. This disturbing context based on power control, ostracism and fear can lead us to conclude that the Other is not our brother or sister, has never been and never will be. It is an enemy to neutralize or destroy so as to maintain our own system of values alive and intact. And it matters little if this murder necessitates our own loss.

When things fall apart: Critical voices on the radars is a metaphor of Achebe’s novel. But rather than staging the dichotomy of a hostile geopolitical, economic, socio-cultural and religious relationship based on “us” versus “them”, the exhibition analyzes our common chronic pathologies. Built as a series of wake up calls, it tells us that the little we have retained of History could be the reason why societies, throughout the entire world, create their own Nemesis by living in an almost constant state of intolerance, withdrawal into oneself and fear. Using humor, poetry, radical protest or interactive role-play, twelve voices direct a critical gaze at a world that is drifting to emphasize the vital necessity to learn to live together, for the survival of communities is at stake, for the survival of humanity is at stake. Because human beings, architects of their past and their present, behave as tragic gravediggers of their own destiny.

When things fall apart: Critical voices on the radars is a platform for artists who are taking a radical stand for a salutary change of mind-set and attitude. It probes how their positions and voices are acting as a warning that mirrors societies in turbulent times. If some of them are demanding Equal Justice and Social Change by addressing gender, race, sexuality, politics, democracy and human development issues; others are embracing a globally resonant humanitarian cause with an Empathy that will uplift humanity, redefine otherness, rehabilitate solidarity, and lead us to believe that the best is yet to come.

Curator: N’Goné Fall


When things fall apart: Critical voices on the radars (90 pages) features essays by N’Goné Fall, the exhibition curator and co-founder of the Dakar based collective GawLab; and Stefano Harney, Professor of Strategic Management Education at the Singapore Management University and co-founder of the School for Study, an ensemble teaching project. It is part of Artist in Society, a major publication gathering four exhibitions produced by Trapholt Museum under the umbrella of the Images 2016art festival. Size: 24,5 x 30,5 cm, 200 pages. Languages: Danish and English.



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