A provisional statement
by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
If art, particularly visual art, is not considered as a matter for its own sake, leaving the artist studio, entering the public space, reaching an audience, art is always political, at least in the actual sense of the meaning of the word “political”. As a communicating medium between the creator and the audience, art becomes subject and object of a public discussion generating public opinion. As a social context establishing communication between a sender (artist) and the audience (recipient), art always has a social and political relevance, independantly from the artistic intentions and the contents to be communicated.
As we perceive it in the Western culture, the phenomenology of art changed during the development of human civilization from a most restrictive, cultic and elitist matter to a mass phenomenon of these days, from an intimate dialogue with a deity until the nearly absolute democratization and anonymization of the current mass society.
The social character of art, respectively the “image” created by an artist was at the same time always also potentially propaganda, when it was ideogically (mis)used by potentates in order to take influence on the individual and the masses. In this way, neither art nor the artist were innocent. The (economically and conceptually) independant artist of the Western societies is a result of the 19th century, when the democratization of art began with the industrialization and its social impakt.
And in terms of a free and independent art, thus if art is not used as propaganda or otherwise ideologically restricted, the real intentions of an artist are rather secondary, while reaching the audience the art work is interpreted individually by each indiviual, nevertheless the messages of visual art are much more concret than non-visual art like music, the visual sense is representing the most prominent sense among the human senses, not only in an evolutionary sense.
The present exhibition to be planned is transporting a political message (see subtitle) pointing to fundamental human and democratic, social and cultural values.
While taking a look on the world map, it becomes obvious that the majority of the world population is not able to share these values, because their living conditions do not guarantee such values, like freedom of expression, freedom of the word, freedom of movement and other human rights, it seems to be rather like that, that human rights are valid only for the privileged (not only in the Western orientated democracies), while the human rights are withheld for all the others, especially the non-privileged (this is also good for the dramatically increasing number of non-privileged in the Western countries)
It is a fact, that the “selfportrait” belongs to the most substantial artistic fomats, because reflecting and critically interpreting oneself is requiring diving deeply into the artist’s own soul.
The “selfportrait” does not only show how the artists see themselves, but also how they would like to be seen by the others. Much more than in any other kind of art format, the artists’ portraits create an “image” of themselves, their own “corporate identity”. they show face “Here I am!”
Since this statement is written at the beginning of the realisation of the exhibition project, it cannot be finally concluded, whether and in which way the participating artists will place themselves conceptually into the context of this exhibition’s humanitarian message.
The exhibition will be featuring digital media only – photography, digital image, video, netart, soundart and textual statements.
10 years ago, 2006-2007, Agricola de Cologne realised an exhibition of artists’ selfportraits in another humanitarian context in Palestine, Poland, Italy and Argentina
–> ://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem – a show for Peace