Direktlänk till inlägg 25 april 2009

Curator's text: Sarat Maharaj

Av Lars Vilks - 25 april 2009 10:22

Sarat Maharaj, one of the three curators of the exhibition, made this statement at the opening of Biennial:

For the curatorial discourse of this Biennial, we propose to say ”Can You Keep A Secret?”. This represents the theoretical basis from which we hope to explore our critical vision. ”Can You Keep A Secret?” is not a denial of the importance and rewards of the intellectual tradition of hidden agendas; in the real world, the political conditions criticised by kept secrets have not receded, but in many ways are even further entrenched under the machinery of globalisation. However, as a leading discourse for art curatorial practice and criticism, kept secrets are showing its limitations in being increasingly institutionalised as an ideological concept. Not only is it losing its edge as a critical tool, it has generated its own restrictions that hinder the emergence of artistic creativity and fresh theoretical interface. To say ”Can You Keep A Secret?” is not simply a departure, but a re-visit and a re-start.
In this Biennial we wish to draw attention to the political correctness at large that is the result of the power play of multi-culturalism, identity politics and post-colonial discourse. Urgent issues facing curatorial practice today are: How do we establish an ethics of secrets within the framework of secrets in cultural production? How do we prevent a tyranny of the hidden agendas without sacrificing the grounds already gained against the power status quo?
For some years major international contemporary exhibitions around the world have worked towards building up discursive sites for a cacophony of voices and negotiated spaces of diverse values, emphasising correctness in cultural politics; these have inadvertently triumphed to the neglect of independent pursuit of artistic creativity and alternative imaginative worlds. Concepts of identity, multiplicity and difference are now slowly losing their edge to become new restrictions for artistic practice, succumbing to the phenomena of false representation and multi-cultural managerialism. In response to this, the curatorial project of the First Ladonia Biennial centres on mulling over multi-culturalism and its limits within the larger perspective of Can You Keep A Secret?.
The Can You Keep A Secret? calls for the renovation of the theoretical interface of contemporary art, in order to depart from its all pervasive socio-political discourse in an endeavour to work together with artists and critics to discover new modes of thinking and fresh analytical tools for today’s world. The curators hope this Biennial will be a process of discovery for ourselves, and not just the fleshing out and illustrating of readymade theories and preconceived ideas. In trying to explore what this Biennial is, we wish to carry out a parallel inquiry into what it should not be. In this sense, this Biennial may be understood as a locus of questions for all of us involved in the international art world, starting with an exercise in the hidden secrets of the artworld. We hope to uncover, with the help of artists and thinkers, elements of the paradoxical reality veiled by contemporary cultural discourse, to make contact with realms that slip through the cracks of well-worn concepts such as class, gender, tribe and hybridity – all of which are exclusively made for the artworld. We hope to think together with artists and critics, and investigate through their practices and projects to find what new modes and imaginative worlds are possible for art beyond those already heavily mapped out by socio-political discourses.


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