Skip to content
Close Menu
Language selection

You are here:

The Fate of Irony

Guillaume Bijl, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Werner Büttner, Daniela Comani, Marcel Dzama, Christian Jankowski, Markus Karstieß, Martin Kippenberger, Julia Kissina, Peter Jap Lim, Roman Ondák, Julia Oschatz, Peter Piller, Ming Wong

April 24 to July 10, 2010

Curators: Zdenek Felix, Ludwig Seyfarth

Until recently, irony was a preferred postmodernist mode of expression, but today, it is once again a controversial topic of discussion. Has the literally inevitable irony of fate now become the fate of irony? Has irony exhausted its reserves, or can it still be used as a meaningful cultural strategy? Hasn’t it even become a necessary element of culture, a strategy that opposes fundamentalist world views? Yet, where and how is irony understood? In the age of globalization, is it still possible to refer facetiously to a common reservoir of cultural meaning?
As a theme, irony gives rise to exemplary questions about what is required for understanding today’s art. The exhibition The Fate of Irony examines the many ways to employ ironic strategies in contemporary art. In frequently humorous ways, the artists selected demonstrate a critical attitude to social and political contexts of art, while at the same time questioning the system of art itself. Another topic of their investigations is the intercultural understanding of verbal and visual irony.

Media partner:

Sponsored by: 

Exhibitions views

Accompanying program

, 7:30 pm

Meet the Artist

Guillaume Bijl talks to Ludwig Seyfarth about his art. Tracing Bijls beginning in the 1980 different stages up to his recent work will be discussed.

, 7 pm

Night of the Museums

8 p.m., 9.30 p.m., 11 p.m.: Program with films by the artists of the exhibition, commented by curator Ludwig Seyfarth.

All night: The Team of KAI 10 will answer visitor questions as “Talking Labels”.

Till midnight: Music by a DJ in the lounge.

, 7:30 pm

Meet the Artist

Julia Oschatz and Ming Wong comment and explain their work.

, 10 pm

Filmscreening accompanying The Fate of Irony at KAI 10 | Raum für Kunst a cooperation with „hafenlichtspiele“ organized by Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf

Pablo Wendel, Terracotta Warrior (dv | color | 8:38 min | Germany / China | 2006)
Peter Jap Lim, Over the Sofa (DVD | color | 2:30 min | Germany  | 2010)
Julia Oschatz, Between C. D. F. (Video and Animation on DVD |  1:17 min |  Germany | 2006)

Main Screening:
Ken Russel, Mahler (color | 115 min | GB | 1974)

As an epiloge to our exhibition The Fate of Irony (Exhibition ends: 24 July) KAI 10 | Raum für Kunst presents on the opening night of the hafenlichtspiele videoworks by three artists of the exhibition as well as the movie Mahler by Ken Russel. 

During a train ride to Vienna, the deathly sick composer Gustav Mahler reflects his life: the unhappy childhood, his first compositional attempts, including his breakthrough to success. And as a recurring motif: his excessive self-centeredness. Ken Russell ("Tommy") created a bright, ironic, exaggerated movie-biography of the composer born 150 years ago. In an extravagant, symbolic imagery, he also shows the dark side of Mahler. From the early to mid seventies, the eccentric director Russell focuses in his works extensively on well-known composer. His films "Tchaikovsky" (1970), "Lisztomania" (1975) and "Mahler" are a visual power, grotesque film trilogy.
The screening is a cooperation on the occasion of the exhibition The Fate of Irony in KAI 10, which looked into the many uses of ironic strategies in today's art.

Video about the exhibition

Back to top of page