‘Animismus’ @ HKW, March 15th, 2012

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Animism had endowed things with souls; industrialism makes souls into things. Theodor W. Adorno / Max Horkheimer “Dialektik der Aufklärung”

How do we distinguish things from beings? The exhibition “Animism” examines the delineation between life and non-life on the basis of aesthetic symptoms.

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The scientific positivism of modernity was based on the categorical separation of nature and culture, of the subjective and objective world. Animism stood for the counter-image of this self-concept. It is at this juncture that the exhibition intervenes. With works by some 30 international artists, curator Anselm Franke transforms the Haus der Kulturen der Welt into a self-reflexive “anthropological museum of modernity”.

In recent years the categorical separation between the subjective and objective world in Modernity’s imaginary and societal space has in many disciplines been subject to a fundamental reappraisal, and kindled, not least, a new interest in Animism. The exhibition brings together a broad range of current perspectives from the fields of ethnology, literary criticism, art, the natural sciences, the history of science and politics.

The focus and starting point of the debate is to identify possible and surprising correspondences and connections, render both the concept and history of Animism a fruitful subject for self-interrogation and foster a new critical reflection of Modernity. The discussions scrutinize Modernity’s established practice of separating and demarcating between nature and culture, things and actors, world and imagination.

Works by: Adam Avikainen, Artefakte//anti-humboldt, Angela Melitopoulos und Maurizio Lazzarato, Tom Holert, Martin Zillinger und Anja Dreschke, Dierk Schmidt, Jimmie Durham, Daria Martin, Paulo Tavares, Agentur, Len Lye, Walt Disney, Ken Jacobs, Marcel Broodthaers, Didier Demorcy, Vincent Monnikendam, Candida Höfer, Yayoi Kusama, Victor Grippo, León Ferrari, J.J. Grandville, Rosemarie Trockel, Erik Steinbrecher, Daniel Spoerri, Istvan Orosz, Lars Laumann, David Maljkovic, Anna und Bernhard Blume, Roee Rosen, Hans Richter, Jean Painlevé, Walon Green a.o.

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