BAK, basis voor actuele kunst proudly presents How Much Fascism?, curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW.
This group exhibition shows works by Burak Delier, Etcétera…, Avi Mograbi, Marina Naprushkina, Trevor Paglen, Cesare Pietroiusti, Jonas Staal, Mladen Stilinović, SUPERFLEX, Milica Tomić, and Lidwien van de Ven.
The exhibition How Much Fascism? engages with claims articulated in Slovenian philosopher and political activist Rastko Močnik’s collection of texts published in 1995 under the same name, asking how much fascism drives societies. Amidst the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Močnik related the conflicts and rise of fascist forces in geographies “from the Adriatic to Siberia” to the structural consequences of the induction and reconstruction of peripheral capitalism. With the establishment of several new state entities based on nationalistic ideologies, Močnik outlined the range of social conjunctures crucial to this process, noting their “anti-anti-Fascism” and cultural policies with racist undertones. The comfortable relationship between capitalism and democracy—one that appeared to be taken for granted in the decade following the Cold War—has been obliterated since the beginning of the twenty-first century. The symptoms that Močnik detected in the "peripheries" have taken an increasingly strong hold at the core of western liberal democracy.
This exhibition engages with disparate details and fragmented narratives—the “short-circuits between the particular and the universal” that Močnik considers characteristic of contemporary forms of fascism—presenting a series of case studies whose “local” particularity is tested against broader social changes. The works on display weigh artistic agency against political manifestations that can be examined as cases of fascist resurgence: the rise of nationalistic sentiment and anti-immigrant legislations; the denial, suppression, and deformation of history; the normalization of war and excessive violence; and the many instances of enforced procedures in the administration of daily life. At the same time, these works actively engage with the question of the role of art and its institutions when democracy is increasingly handed over to expert bodies wholly unaccountable to the electorate, and there is little doubt that the art world is not where the decisions are being made.
How Much Fascism? at BAK is a research exhibition within the framework of BAK’s long-term project FORMER WEST.
Following the exhibition opening, Part Two of the 3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress: Beyond What Was Contemporary Art, continued takes place on 29 September 2012 at Utrecht School of the Arts, Mariaplaats 27, Utrecht. For more information please visit: www.formerwest.org.
The exhibition continues WHW’s two-year-long research project into contemporary manifestations of fascism, which began with the exhibition Details, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, 2011.
How Much Fascism? is also presented at Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp (05.10.–11.11.2012) where it is co-curated with Mihnea Mircan and includes works by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Judith Hopf, Sanja Iveković, Gert Jan Kocken, Thomas Kvam, Avi Mograbi, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Cesare Pietroiusti, Lidwien van de Ven, and Želimir Žilnik.