Björn Dahlem, Thomas Helbig, Manfred Pernice, Marjetica Potrč, Franz West, Heimo Zobernig
September 20 to December 07, 2008
Curator: Zdenek Felix
KAI 10 | ARTHENA FOUNDATION's inaugural exhibition No Illusions is neither thematic nor programmatic. It features work by six selected contemporary artists. Their work represents a dialogue between the older and younger generation, yet it resists the trends employed in the successful marketing of superficial appearances. No Illusions takes a stand against the tendency of some of today's art to favor illusionism and sensationalism, demonstrating that there are still critical antitheses in present-day art. The exhibition provides an alternative to a predominant strategy in art, that of "magically asserting that art historical importance is derived from numbers or names, instead of constructively grounding it in the presentation and discussion of art." (Jörg Heiser).
Although the works on display are thematically different, they intersect at a number of points. Some works are three-dimensional constructs, recalling buildings or their scale models. However, this seemingly close relationship to architecture or design is deceptive, since different concepts for three-dimensional structures are linked to social, philosophical, and political programs.
Another group of works is related to figural representation. Here, too, the depiction of figures does not deplete meaning. Rather, the works are artistic artifacts created out of fragmented materials of civilization and the ruins of Modernism's formal vocabulary. The frequently recurring roles of irony and humor in these works should not be underestimated.
Panel discussion on the occasion of NO ILLUSIONS with Zdenek Felix (curator NO ILLUSIONS), Vanessa Joan Müller (Director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf), and Ludwig Seyfarth (art critic, Berlin)
with Björn Dahlem, artists NO ILLUSIONS and Matthias Mühling, head of Collections and Curator for international contemporary Art, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München