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Alfredo Jaar – The way it is. An Aesthetics of Resistance

NGBK – Berlinische Galerie – Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin
15 June – 16 September, 2012

The Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (New Society for Visual Arts) presents an exhibition by Chilean artist Alfredo  Jaar (*1956) that will be shown, subdivided into six groups of works, simultaneously at three Berlin institutions. The monographic show offers a retrospective survey of an artistic production spanning close to four decades. It gives insights into the political topicality of the works by the two-time documenta participant and elucidates the critical methods of archiving, research and intervention employed by the artist.

The artist trained as architect and filmmaker works with urban spaces and spaces of the museum. He dissects surfaces and structures, producing artistic statements related to spatiality and society. The main focuses of the show are on the observation of image languages and image programmes, as well as their deconstruction. They address the artistic strategy of refusing images, present Jaar’s research work and display his considerations on the presentation and accessibility of various public spheres. Investigations of the visualisation of political and social events and the treatment of the resulting images demonstrate Alfredo Jaar’s critical approach to the media and media publicity.

The point of departure and reference point of Alfredo Jaar’s art is always formed by the careful analysis of the backgrounds and effects of concrete events and situations. His early works from the 1970s already deal with forms of resistance in public and semi-public spaces, thus criticising the conditions in Chile without becoming subjected to state censorship. After Jaar moved to the United States, which was followed by an international artistic career, he continued to apply the artistic methods developed and tested in Chile.

Alfredo Jaar – The way it is. An Aesthetics of Resistance – the title of the show on view in the spaces of the NGBK, the Berlinische Galerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie – refers to two projects that Alfredo Jaar realised in Berlin in the early 1990s. On the one hand, it makes reference to the artistic intervention “Eine Ästhetik zum Widerstand” (“The Aethetics of Resistance”) that Jaar presented at the Pergamonmuseum in 1992/93 (organised by NGBK in cooperation with DAAD). On the other, it alludes to the temporary installation “The Way It Was” that the artist created in 1991 in an empty ground-floor flat in Berlin (in the frame of the show  “Heimat”, organised by Galerie Wewerka & Weiss). Both projects can be regarded as examples of Alfredo Jaar’s interest in contemporary history and the possibilities and limitations of image and text systems. Jaar highlights the discrepancy between real and reflected space.

he path that now has to be taken between the three exhibition venues and the time that passes before the next encounter with Jaar’s works sharpen the art-goers’ ability to relate the artists pictorial solutions and themes to their own present. This allows experiencing in a reflected manner the seriousness, idiosyncrasy and determination of Alfredo Jaar’s works.

Practical Info
Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK)
Oranienstraße 25 10999 Berlin
Daily 12-7 pm
Thu-Sat 12-8 pm

Berlinische Galerie
Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Alte Jakobstraße 124-128 10969 Berlin
Wed-Mon 10 am-6 pm
Tue closed

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin,
Preußischer Kulturbesitz Bodestraße 1-3 10178 Berlin
Tue-Sun 10 am-6 pm
Thu 10 am-10 pm

This post is also available in: Spanish