Francis Hunger | History Exhaustion | Press Release

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April 4 - May 7, 2009 | Opening Friday, April 3, 7-10 pm

The German expression “Verausgabung” can be translated as “a total expenditure of resources” and “exhaustion”. As such “Verausgabung” is contradictory to the rational and economical prin- ciple of equalization.

Yet the dissipation of resources with all its positive and negative aspects is an intrinsic part of human culture. Within the context of the recent collapse of the international credit system, in this exhibition the exhaustion of history, after the failure of 20th century’s experiments with different models of society, is opposed to Fukuyama’s enthusiasm about the end of history
after the victory of capitalism. In this context the lack of confidence in the free market becomes a general loss of confidence in the future due to the exhaustion of utopian models of society in history.

In this exhibition the artist works in a variety of media to depict the findings of an ongoing research project into the economical, political and social complexities of globalized society in the 21st Century.

The frame and background of this exhibition is a story by the artist: Three protagonists, representing different parts of our society: the entrepreneurship, social criticism and unionized labour, set off on an expedition, after they receive radio calls from an unknown area. The exhibition is comprised of artefacts and objects from this fictitious world. As independent works, these artefacts build an evocative continuum, which has been translated into the form of an exhibition.

The main exhibition space is dominated by an eight meter long antenna. Through a short wave receiver, an automated voice announces a code of numbers. During the Cold War this so-called “number transmitter” was used to communicate secret messages to spies and secret agents. Only with the help of the correct counter code could these columns of figures be decoded.

Along the long wall of the gallery hangs a series of photographs depicting different mountain- scapes. The low resolution of these photographs obscures their images, creating a dialectic between the figurative and abstraction. These images refer to the different stations of the alpine tour such as the “Valley of the Reduced Critique on Capitalism” or the “Precipice of the Over Production Crisis” where the protagonists meet with an accident or are possibly left behind.

In a three part video installation, the protagonists appear in their own dreams. In the first video, the artist, dressed in a business suit, stands next to a highway on-ramp holding a wooden sign with “Capitalism Must Win” written on it. This “entrepreneur“ seems to be absurd and pathetic with his continuing but futile affirmation of capitalism.

In the second video the eye of the artist is shown in a close-up, while a quotation, apparently critical towards globalization and the financial market, is recited. On a second view it becomes obvious that this quotation could also be understood in a nationalist context as well as in the sense of a welfare state. Thus its arbitrary populism is revealed.

The last video is comprised of a performance of the artist, singing a song by the Russian pop duo, T.a.Tu. and performing a self choreographed dance in an empty apartment. This somewhat clumsy but enthusiastic performance manifests the protagonists hope for a better future that he doesn´t want to give up on, while also escaping to a medial dream world.