Cover of the exhibition catalogue

Cover of the exhibition catalogue

Hardcore, towards a new activism

A.A.A. Corp. (France), Jota Castro (Peru), Shu Lea Cheang (USA), Minerva Cuevas (Mexico), Alain Declerq (France), Michel Dector Michel Dupuy (France), Ocean Earth (USA), etoy.corporation (Switzerland), Kendell Geers (South Africa), Guerrilla Girls on Tour (USA), Johan Grimonprez (Belgium), Clarisse Hahn (France), Henrik Plenge Jakobsen (Denmark), Gianni Motti (Italy), Anri Sala (Albania), Santiago Sierra (Mexico), Sislej Xhafa (Kosovo)

At a time of widespread obsession with the rise of violence, of unending debate about crime and the threat of terrorism, "Hardcore" questions radicalness and "violence". These are concepts that now figure in the work of many contemporary artists who are developing an attitude that is akin to a certain activism.

The title "Hardcore" applies to the way the artists featured in the show are infiltrating reality, occupying in a certain way the field of current events, and sending us back an expression of raw truth that is delivered without the prerequisite mass-media format. It is the virulence of a verbal and visual message that unmasks and castigates political and social initiatives that smack of demagoguery.

The show is structured around the work of a dozen artists of varying ages and nationalities who, either alone or in groups, are working out a new type of activism. It is an activism that no longer springs from the thinking that dominated the protest movement of the 1960s and 70s, even though the artists here are products of that milieu. These heirs to the fall of ideologies are "isolated" activists who together form no organized movement, but rather represent so many individual strategies.

They are "groupuscules" of protesters who are repositioning one of the facets of art as a tool for transgression, in order to shake things up and better infiltrate the incoherences and deviations effecting the system. It is art as metaphor for positions staked out and a resistance mounted. For them, art is no longer a matter of simply producing a form or creating an effect; it must be a fact of reality, the hyperbole of the yawning gap left by the media, the social or the political. The work of art becomes material for provoking a reaction, for questioning, rather than something to be contemplated.

While artists have always been "hackers of the real", the creative men and women brought together is this show offer a language and form of artistic intervention that tend toward a new activism, because they attempt to transmit, like a pirate radio station, an alternative, critical view of a social, economic and political context. In each case, the very activity and oeuvre of these artists stands for a manifesto, one that remains most of the time within the symbolic sphere of art writing, although occasionally it does go beyond that and sparks real debate. These artists often adopt extreme positions, play on limits and greatly increase art&Mac226;s polemical charge and its impact on society and society's zones of power.

(Jérôme Sans, Curator of the exhibition, Co-director of the Palais de Tokyo)

This exhibition is supported by the Maison de l'Amérique Latine, Paris; the Institut du Mexique, Paris; Pro Helvetia and the Ambassade Royale du Danemark, Paris.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Les Inrockuptibles, Radio Nova et Nova Magazine, Mouvement, Blast and Planète.

The Palais de Tokyo thanks Corona for the opening.

Ausstellungsdauer: 27.2. - 18.5.2003
Oeffnungszeiten: Di-So 12 - 24 Uhr

Palais de Tokyo
site de création contemporaine
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F-75116 Paris
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