Friday, October 3, 2008

Elephant Gun

If I was young, I'd flee this town
I'd bury my dreams underground
As did I, we drink to die, we drink tonight

…Far from home, elephant gun
Let's take them down one by one
We'll lay it down, it's not been found, it's not around…

…And it rips through the silence of our camp at night
And it rips through the silence, all that is left is all that I hide..
(from the songElephant Gun, by Beirut)

Bargain prices on Elephant Gun is a commentary on how the individual adapts to the requirements of contemporary society. Contemporary forms of social relations develop in the space of the old antinomy between the personal and the collective, or social. Though individual freedom is by now a well-established principle of social organization, society continues to reproduce itself on the basis of rules and laws that eventually force it into a state of crisis, reducing it to a mere product of social mediation.
Contemporary lifestyles, generally aimed toward consumption, challenge the sense of identity and ultimately the integrity of individuals exposed to them.

The notion of interdependence is of particular importance in this context: what, in other words, is the relation between individual perspectives on contemporary lifestyles and individual action? To what extent are our present choices our own? If the past determines the future, what, or who, determines our present?

The artists participating in this exhibition tell their personal stories about resistance or compliance, about defying the workings of the system or finding ways to exist alongside it, about our choices with respect to what we leave behind and what we stick to in our effort to move ahead.

Works in the exhibition explore areas where there are no rigid distinctions between theory and practice; where the boundaries between the two seem to blur. They conjure up a universe of individual worlds that invoke contemporary awareness and use it as a prism through which to look upon how we experience reality. We all try to survive amidst the chaos of contemporary life. The exhibition poses questions regarding our sense of unease and anxiety, the individual’s incorporation into the social body, the call for freedom, the possibility or impossibility of a coexistence of the personal and the collective, the desire for change. Widely acknowledged as the international centre of the unified European Community, Brussels inaugurates its first contemporary art biennial in 2008. The Brussels Biennial responds to the ever-increasing critical impact of Brussels and its potential to provide a specific context for the presentation of contemporary art. Characterized by its intuitive insight into the art scene of the highly urbanized region between the Netherlands, Belgium, France and parts of Germany, the biennial takes place from October 2008 through January 2009. With contributions from more than 40 international artists, the biennial incorporates exhibitions by experimental art institutions located in two deserted buildings along the North-South railway axis in Brussels. The biennial represents a first step in a larger project designed as a trans-national endeavour that will unfold in two steps until 2010.

Participating artists: Yves Ackermann, Dimitris Andreadis, Dimitris Antonitsis, Dimitris Baboulis, Vassili Balatsos, Petros Chrisostomou, Dimitris Foutris, Ry Fyan, Jenny Marketou, Eleni Kamma, Thanos Klonaris, Caroline May, Maro Michalakakos, Eva Mitala, Tereza Papamichali, Antonis Pittas, Angelo Plessas, Dimitris Tsoumplekas, Kostis Velonis, Maria Zervou.

Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center
group show curated by Katerina Nikou,
9th October - 25 November 08,