Individual Project

How much fascism?

BAK, Utrecht (NL)

Group exhibition with a.o. Jonas Staal

Opening: 28 September 2012, 17:00

A group exhibition with works by Burak Delier, Etcetera..., Avi Mograbi, Marina Naprushkina, Trevor Paglen, Cesare Pietroiusti, Jonas Staal, Mladen Stilinovic, SUPERFLEX, Milica Tomic, and Lidwien van de Ven. Curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW.

The exhibition engages in a dialogue with a provocative claim made by Slovenian sociologist, literary theorist, translator, and political activist Rastko Mocnik in his collection of texts titled ‘How Much Fascism?’ (1995). Mocnik suggests that we no longer need to ask ourselves whether “new local populism, new ‘fascism,’ [and] new right-wing extremism” drive the contemporary condition, but rather, how much they drive that condition. We must attend not only to the open manifestations of fascism, though we witness more and more of such instances and one needs to ponder how societies that permit and tolerate such phenomena still “qualify” as democracies. More importantly, WHW suggest, “we need to turn our attention to the silent fascism that is becoming normalized through the systematic violence seeping into the laws and everyday administration practices of the nation-state, and to assess the mechanisms of oppression and the various symptoms of contemporary fascism that are being presented as unavoidable, pragmatic necessities.” In sync with these thoughts, the artists in the exhibition inquire about the possibility of art vis-a-vis such circumstances and invest in the cognitive power of art and the potential within the aesthetic experience of questioning reality.

Following the exhibition opening, Part Two of the 3rd FORMER WEST Research Congress: ‘Beyond What Was Contemporary Art’ takes place on 29 September 2012 at Utrecht School of the Arts, Mariaplaats 28, Utrecht. Participants: Marion von Osten (artist and cultural researcher, Berlin/Vienna), Bassam el Baroni (curator and art critic, Alexandria), Delaine Le Bas (artist, various locations, Europe), Mihnea Mircan (curator and writer, Antwerp), Rasha Salti (curator and writer, Beirut), Jonas Staal (artist, Rotterdam), and Stephen Wright (theorist, writer, curator, and researcher, Paris), among others.

The exhibition ‘How Much Fascism?’ is curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW. It is a continuation of the exhibition Details at Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen which has been the starting point of ongoing research that will continue with an exhibition at Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp co-curated with Mihnea Mircan and a series of events within the project ‘Beginning As Well As We Can (How Do We Talk About Fascism?)’ at Gallery Nova, Zagreb, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, and Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm. ‘How Much Fascism?’ at BAK is a research exhibition within the framework of BAK’s long-term project FORMER WEST which is generously supported by the Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam and the EU Culture Programme, Brussels.