DIE FREIHEIT, DIE WIR MEINEN
Marie Cool Fabio Balducci
The Kunstverein Bielefeld is delighted to present Die Freiheit, die wir meinen (What we mean by freedom), featuring Eva Barto (b. 1987, Nantes, France, lives and works in Paris, France), Tyler Coburn (b. 1983 in New York, USA, lives and works in New York, USA), Marie Cool Fabio Balducci (b. 1961 Valenciennes, France, and 1964 in Ostra, Italy, live and work in Paris, France, and Pergola, Italy), Inga Danysz (b. 1990 in Warsaw, Poland, lives and works in Frankfurt am Main) and Adriana Lara (b. 1978 in Mexico City, Mexico, lives and works in Mexico). The show focuses on freedom and what underlies our contemporary conceptions of the idea.
Since the beginning of modernity, the idea of the aesthetic has been linked to libertarian ideals of a free and happy life. This has its origin in the demand for autonomy and self-determination, which was triggered in the nineteenth century by the critique of forms of life in the early industrial society. Although efforts toward freedom and individual self-actualization were first limited to artistic and intellectual circles, the 1968 protest movement saw a more widespread diffusion of aesthetic critique within society. But today’s social critique faces a fundamentally changed situation. The demand for freedom, autonomy and creativity now goes hand in hand with an imperative of exploitation. Self-determined, creative action has become the basis of a new philosophy of life and work, and thus of a model of value creation in which competence is measured according to individual characteristics and performative capacities. But if artistic processes are subordinated to the productivity of social reproduction, can the aesthetic still be seen as a force of cultural contestation? What does it mean today to regard art as belonging to the party of critique and emancipation? What do changing ideas of freedom mean for contemporary artistic production?