… of bread, wine, cars, security and peace

8/3 2020 — 4/10 2020
Curators What, How & for Whom / WHW (Ivet Ćurlin, Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović)

Artists: Marwa Arsanios • Zach Blas • Sonia Boyce • Banu Cennetoğlu • Alejandro Cesarco • Saddie Choua • Phil Collins • Alice Creischer • Adji Dieye • Ines Doujak • Melanie Ebenhoch • Tim Etchells • Kevin Jerome Everson • Forensic Architecture • Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze, Hito Steyerl & Miloš Trakilović • Monika Grabuschnigg • Vlatka Horvat • Anne Marie Jehle • Gülsün Karamustafa • Jessika Khazrik for the Society of False Witnesses • Victoria Lomasko • Hana Miletić & Globe Aroma • Marina Naprushkina • Tuan Andrew Nguyen • Wendelien van Oldenborgh • Sylvia Palacios Whitman • Dan Perjovschi • Pirate Care • HC Playner • Oliver Ressler • School of Contradiction • Selma Selman • Andreas Siekmann • Daniel Spoerri • Mladen Stilinović • Marlene Streeruwitz • Milica Tomić • …

On March 8, 2020, International Women’s Day, we opened the group exhibition … of bread, wine, cars, security and peace. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition ended up being closed to visitors just a few days later. While the pandemic is still raging in many places, here in Austria we are able to lift some restrictions, and Kunsthalle Wien is happy to be able to welcome visitors to the exhibition once again.

As its central concern, … of bread, wine, cars, security and peace examines the notion of the “good life.” At the beginning of the 2000s, Lebanese writer Bilal Khbeiz described the unattainable dream of a “good life” for people in the Global South – in contrast to the Western world – with “bread, wine, cars, security and peace” (Globalization and the Manufacture of Transient Events, Beirut: Ashkal Alwan, 2003).

Almost two decades later, it seems that these basics are escaping more and more people – even those living in places where these things were previously taken for granted. Climate change is putting the continuation of life on earth under question, and as ecological destruction gathers pace, inequality and injustice are growing and faith in the benevolence of capitalism is becoming increasingly broken. This pandemic, which we are experiencing in different ways across the globe, is only one – albeit radical – manifestation of the fragility of our societies, making ever more clear the necessity of building accessible, public systems of social care and engendering a shared responsibility for all.

Through its questioning of the “good life,” the exhibition, which takes place at both venues of Kunsthalle Wien – Museumsquartier and Karlsplatz – suggests alternatives both to the fear of imminent economic and social collapse and to the return to an unsustainable “normality,” which, at present, appear to be the only two choices before us. Critical, constructive, and imaginative artists’ voices act as signals of the possibilities for social change and of new proposals for living together. … of bread, wine, cars, security and peace puts care, solidarity, and a sense of possibility at its center – values that have become significantly more precious to everyone since the exhibition’s premature closure.

Curators: What, How & for Whom / WHW (Ivet Ćurlin, Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović)
Curatorial Assistants: Laura Amann, Aziza Harmel

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