Projects

I + the Other. Art and the Human Condition

Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, Jan 1994

Duration: 06.1994 - 08.1994
Location: Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
Participants: 111
Visitors: 22,000
Number of Events: 12
Additional Presentations: n.a.

'Ik + de Ander. Art and the Human Condition' ('I + the Other: Art and the Human Condition') was an exhibition in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam from June until August 1994. The premise was a context that was not strictly defined by art. The exhibition was to be the result of a co-operation between two institutions that, in a manner of speaking, were unaware of each other's existence: the institution of art (the artists and the exhibition makers) and the Red Cross. With this project, writer, curator and activist Ine Gevers and Van Heeswijk wanted to create a context in which the different positions and discourses would enter into dialogue with one another. The exhibition was based on the following question: 'What is the state of human dignity and humanity in a time dominated by violence, intolerance, xenophobia, and even genetic manipulation?' Work by thirty national and international artists and visual and archive material from the Red Cross and the media offered an overview of different ideas and visions on this issue.

The exhibition was structured as a narrative. The first part of the show presented notions such as otherness, difference, distance, intimacy and alienation, which were connected with one another, while subverting notions like unity and universality by using works that showed the complex division between power and powerlessness upon which politics, economics and ideologies are based. In the second section, artists such as Christine Borland, Cindy Sherman and Adrian Piper addressed the possibility and impossibility of representing the Other in a language that, a priori, excludes alterity. Notions such as closeness and intimacy, which were to be experienced in the work, were investigated by artists like Michel Francois and Frank Mandersloot, and questioned by Mona Hatoum and Sadie Benning. The exhibition ended by triggering the notion of alienation at the complex level of the image, the sign and the recipient. The work of Andreas Serrano, certainly in combination with the Nintendo games, or that of Marina Griznic, Andrea Fisher and Martin Lucas placed in physical opposition to the large billboards posters advertising Benneton and the Dutch daily Trouw, brought to the forefront the omnipresent confusion that results from the contemporary manipulation/conceptualisation of any image and/or sign for one's own benefit, whether we speak of corporations, politics, the media, or individuals. The exhibition was accompanied by the catalogue Ik + de Ander, which was styled as a magazine, and followed by the book Beyond Ethics and Aesthetics, published in 1997, which examines the issues in greater detail.


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