Belvedere, Wien, Vienna, 01/20/2012 - 05/20/2012
The exhibition Utopia GESAMTKUNSTWERK presents a contemporary perspective of the historical idea of the total work of art. With appropriate scepticism, artists have undertaken to review this legendary figure of thought, thereby casting a critical eye on the history of Modernism: with the upheaval caused by the avant-garde after 1918 and the work theories developed by Schwitters, Duchamp, or Artaud, a holistic and socially critical way of thinking set in as a relevant force.
The idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, originally a purely aesthetic concept, underwent a redefinition aimed at a renewal of society through an art that was critical of the latter’s mechanisms and institutions.
Social developments like neo-liberalization, standardization, and functionalization, but also the political reorganization after the fall of the Iron Curtain or the events of 9/11 have an impact on today’s social dynamics and cause feelings of insecurity. The desire to improve life in our society and the question of what models of living are still or again possible today are therefore also increasingly in the focus of artistic interest.
In Utopia GESAMTKUNSTWERK, as many as 54 national and international positions explore art after 1960 as to the possibilities and impossibilities of reinterpreting the remaining fragments of the notion of Gesamtkunstwerk.A comprehensive display, conceived by the artist Esther Stocker for Utopia GESAMTKUNSTWERK, serves as a stage for works by Walter Pichler, Constanze Ruhm, Hans Hollein, Joseph Beuys, VALIE EXPORT, Liam Gillick, Una Szeemann, Jason Rhoades, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Christoph Schlingensief, and others.