When Gesture Becomes Event

30 April 2021 - 20 June 2021
From Friday, 30 April at 11 am the exhibition will open to the public
City Art Gallery Ljubljana
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Artists: Anna Artaker, Nika Autor, Renate Bertlmann, Katharina Cibulka, Lana Čmajčanin, Magdalena Frey, Anna Jermolaewa, Roberta Lima, Polonca Lovšin, Dorit Margreiter, Ursula Mayer, Marjetica Potrč, Constanze Ruhm, Maruša Sagadin, Maja Smrekar, The Golden Pixel Cooperative

Curated by Alenka Gregorič and Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein

The group show When Gesture Becomes Event was developed in close dialogue with the artists, with whom we reflected on the basic considerations of solidarity as social support between humans, other living beings and the environment. Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease pandemic, at the time of the exhibition’s conception, we also intensified our reflection on solidarity between artists, curators, other cultural workers and cultural institutions. The leitmotif underpinning “When Gesture Becomes Event” focuses on the emancipatory potential of art as a platform for the practice of solidarity, along with the accompanying gestures, possibilities and imponderabilities associated with it.

Sixteen polyphonic, critical, constructive and imaginative voices draw up a feminist vocabulary spanning across strategies, forms of action and utopian endeavours to help rethink collective action, co-operation, solidarity and shared existences.

Following the work of Diane Elam, the group show aims to develop a new grammar for a “groundless solidarity” that embraces variety and diversity. What could this new grammar be based on? What could this nascent concept of “groundless solidarity” look like in a fully developed form? The concepts of the sociologist Heinz Bude offer valuable inspiration, which are implicitly reflected in the exhibition. Bude proceeds from the premise that, today, solidarity can no longer be achieved through class struggle or division of labour, but only through an individual’s realisation of his or her own vulnerability.

Of course, vulnerability is not limited to human beings only. As a strength or as a weakness, it extends across the entire planet, manifesting in various ways across diverse lifeforms. Thus, Bude sees “groundless solidarity” as a venture we must embark on both at a personal and a global level. Without questioning the reliability of such a course, it can show us the way towards new forms of community that are marked by mutual care and support.

The artists in the show face this venture, questioning whether, and under what conditions, an individual gesture can interrupt a seemingly natural course of actions and subsequently turn into an event as well as a force that connects people.