09/24 – 11/27/2016

Thicker than water. Family concepts in contemporary art

In view of changing realities, what family means has to be thought about in a new way. Criticism of rigid role models and patriarchal power has been part of the social mainstream at the very latest since the protests of 1968. Yet, as soon as it comes to specifying what family is, the topic develops a new explosive force. What makes the nucleus of the family?

Social debates are, beside conflicts of values and generational conflicts, growingly dominated by the development of new technologies like IVF or surrogacy as well as alternative ways of living. Instead of a biological relation, family can also be established through social performance, by doing family. Taking turns, developments of partnership and family and society influence each other and ask the question, whether the term family can be interpreted individually and whether it can include all possible forms of living together. Thus, family matters are not only a private but also a political issue. They are an expression of changing social structures and diverse ideas of family

The exhibition presents works by Candice Breitz, Simon Fujiwara, Badr el Hammami & Fadma Kaddouri, Nan Goldin, Verena Jaekel, Haejun Jo, Nina Katchadourian, Ragnar Kjartansson, Neozoon, Johannes Paul Raether, Gillian Wearing and Tobias Yves Zintel. Personally involved or at a distance the artists reflect the present status of family. Which meaning does family have in view of globalized working conditions and pluralized ways of life? In what way do networks and friends replace classical family structures?

Familia, the Latin origin of the word family, soberly translates to household. Instead of blood relationship and community of fate the term rather suggests a community based on voluntary commitment and with that captures the plurality of current family designs/concepts. Is family only a cause of free choice nowadays and no longer of genetic chance?
The exhibition is accompanied by the conference Thicker than water? Concepts of family in society, science and art (September 24 and 25, 2016). Speakers from sociology, art history, media studies, literature and cultural studies discuss this interdisciplinary topic from various perspectives.


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Vernissage: 23.09.2016