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Group Exhibition Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland
Date: 2006

Artists: ZHANG Enli 张恩利 | 

August 19 - October 8, 2006
Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland
curated by Philippe Pirotte

Christoph Büchel & Giovanni Carmine (CH), Florian Dombois (CH), Zhang Enli (CN), Kris Fierens (B), Aneta Grzeszykowska (P), Marine Hugonnier (F), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (MEX), Camille Norment (USA), Serkan ?zkaya (TR), Vanessa Van Obberghen (B)

The notion of ‘pre-emptive action’ stems from an overpowering sense of fear. Pre-emptive means ‘designed or having the power to deter or prevent an anticipated situation or occurrence’. The pre-emptive strike revived by the Republican administrations in the U.S. testifies to their fear of the unforeseen, of difference, even of freedom. It is a calculated handling of reality typical of the postcolonial era, tactics already employed under Reagan; a policy of fighting against the ‘multiform, manoeuvring and omnipresent’. It is also an affirmation of what some people call a ‘prophetic community’, i.e. a community that is built on largely irrational convictions, and on moral and religious values.

This exhibition intends to invoke a situation that ‘pre-empts’ the realization and possibility of control. Creating a place suffused with possibilities, this show will be a reflection on the non-effectuation of history, an exploration of the specificity and the irrevocability of the event. It is an exhibition concerned with things that cannot be technocratically mastered, about flightlines and the difficult understanding of freedom versus continuous control.

Pre-emptive means designed or having the power to deter or prevent an anticipated situation or occurrence. The pre-emptive strike invented by the Republican administrations in the US testifies of the fear to deal with the unforeseen, with difference, or even with freedom. It is a politics of fighting against the 'multiform, manoeuvering and omnipresent.' There is even no longer any consolation or security in a hypothesis today either.
What is a hypothesis is now also a target. Hence art, in this wait for an imminent repression if not suppression, would be experiencing something of a state of emergency -- under siege in its own space, under curfew, prohibited. This surely would not be unlike the experience of some of us when compelled to make the decisive non-choice of "either you are with us , or you are with the terrorists," when none can choose, really choose, to be in-between, not thinking in line with either. Would art likewise be coerced to abdicate and make a decision !
from such a non-choice, in order to have a space in the real world for its present survivability and for its future?

The show includes near to ten very different artistic positions and would probably be called PRE-EMPTIVE,  addressing an actual state of tension in the world. Often though I curate showa without wanting to illustrate a thematic. The artistic propositions relate to title and texts in a non-didactic way, rather in some kind of tension. So that meaning can be produced in-between evoked contents and the artworks. By avoiding the artworks to be illustrational (a too widespread fashion nowadays to my opinion) their multi-layeredness is respected, or the possibility to be interpreted in different perception contexts at the same time is guaranteed.

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