How can we in times of political exhaustion negotiate power outside the established structures? Who is a part of society and on what terms? The exhibition You are articulates a counterforce to the unwillingness to listen.
The exhibition You are takes as its point of departure the increasingly confrontative political debate of the present era, and the lack of listening. Many of the works in the exhibition are about being seen and spoken to, how we exist as human beings through meetings with others. “You are…” is a charged phrase and a fragment of meaning, perhaps the beginning of a love poem or the lead-up to an insult.
Eight artists from different generations, and from many parts of the world, participate in the exhibition. Several of the artists are shown in Sweden for the first time. In basically independent ways, they work with questions about loneliness, belonging, and collapses. In a time of monumental exaggerations and polarised indignation, these artists instead try to understand, and show us the conditions for the deeply humane through testimonies, stories, language and dreams.
Meira Ahmemulic’s short film One language must prevail reveals relations between language, prejudices and Swedishness. The visitor also learns, from the artist Halil Altinderes, the story of Muhammad Faris – Syria’s first and only astronaut so far, once the national hero of the Assad regime, now a dissident and a refugee. In the work of the photographer Liza Ambrossio and the performance artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, dreams and spiritualism are mixed with political activism, whereas Martina Müntzing paints unwritten history. Vanessa Baird depicts relations and family ties beyond the clichés. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s video work investigates the theme of exile in a meeting between the past and the present at an abandoned hotel, and Ahmet Öğüt’s political sculptures show the divide between the individual and society, but also the importance of collaborative creativity and dialogue.
The Gothenburg Museum of Art strives to change the way we see and experience art by showing works and artists from unexpected perspectives. In a participatory project in conjunction with You are, the museum asks what would happen if the voices who provide interpretations and explanations are invited from the outside. Eight persons have been specially invited to interpret the works based on their experiences – among them a construction worker, a person who has lost a parent, a tween and a witch.
Meira Ahmemulic (b 1975, Sweden)
Halil Altindere (b 1971, Turkey)
Liza Ambrossio (b 1993, Mexico)
Vanessa Baird (b 1963, Norway)
Martina Müntzing (b 1968, Sweden)
Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa (b 1978, Guatemala)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b 1970, Thailand)
Ahmet Öğüt (b 1981, Turkey)
The exhibition is produced by the Gothenburg Museum of Art.
Top image: Liza Ambrossio, Tres Caras, from The Rage of Devotion, 2018.