Killer games, killing sprees, honor killings, child murders, sex murders, suicides, political murders, genocide, suicide bombers, terror attacks, wars and civil wars, the killing of civilians, killed soldiers, the killing of traumatized soldiers: The act of killing seems to have become ubiquitous in our media world. However, why does this hardly reflect in the perception of our time? Why is there no discourse about killing?
The exhibition tries to examine this contradiction between perception and reality. It analyzes the currents forms of portrayal of killings in contemporary art, the reception of the unspeakable, unimaginable, the tabooed. For when killing seems to be omnipresent its expectation becomes compellent. The eleven renowned artist process the perspective of the offender as well as the victim, they reflect killing as a physical act and as a fantasy of the mind, they create an immediate picture of killing or develop abstract analyses of killing acts. They detect societal structures or also individual abysses and reflect their medial presence. In the upper floor of Kunstpalais artists broach the issue of the perception of wars and political murders and in the basement floor they reflect the portrayal of killing in media.
With this exhibition we want to make a contribution to the public discussion with a topic that is present yet taboo. In this conceptual design spectacular orchestrations for shock and horror value were forgone consciously. Still, some of the works’ graphic representation or expression of artistic analysis are striking.
The link of all artistic works is the question, which level of importance the artistic depiction is granted in the face of the flood of images the media provides. After all, everything we believe to know about war and the act of killing we know from images imparted by the media. Even though the trust in the authenticity of the image library of the media has been shattered long ago, only the things that have gained a pictorial access into our media memory of our time stay real and true.
Through this challenge of the picture flood of the media the artists of the exhibition develop very diverse strategies. Some artists react with a radical removal of images. In contrast are artistic works that explicitly show the killing to create a visual attestation.
For the exhibition, we host an international symposium in collaboration with the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg: conferences, lectures, panel discussions of literary scholars, legal scholars, historians, philosophers, theologians, and architects form the focal point.
Parastou Forouhar (IR), Jenny Holzer (USA), Michal Kosakowski (PL), Kitty Kraus (D), Eva and Franco Mattes (I), Bjørn Melhus (N), Simon Menner (D), Yves Netzhammer (CHF), Anri Sala (AL), Taryn Simon (USA), Milica Tomic (SRB)