Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art
4 May 1 September 2002
ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
ICONOCLASH. Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art. An international exhibition opening 3rd of May 2002 in the Center for Art and Media [ZKM] in Karlsruhe, Germany. It is being mounted under the executive curatorship of Peter Weibel [CEO of the ZKM] and administered by Sabine Himmelsbach and Gregor Jansen with an international interdisciplinary team of co-curators led by Bruno Latour [F] composed of Peter Galison [USA/D], Dario Gamboni [CH/NL], Joseph Koerner [USA/UK], Adam Lowe [UK] and Hans Ulrich Obrist [CH/F] to which has been added the expertise of Hans Belting [D], Marie-José Mondzain [F], Heather Stoddard [F], Boris Groys [D] and Denis Laborde [F].
The exhibit aims to display, in a systematic confrontation, three great clashes about representation about its necessity, sanctity, and power in the domains of science, art, and religion. Image wars are everywhere, from the Taliban destruction of the Buddhas to the doubts about scientific imagery, through the debunking of media powerful manipulations. By linking the three domains of theology, art and science all at once, the aim is not to increase the critical mood or to reinforce disbelief and irony. On the contrary, the aim is to transform iconoclasm from being an indisputable resource into a topic to be systematically interrogated.
Instead of mocking once more those who produce images or instead of being simply furious against those who destroy them, the show aim at placing the viewer in this quandary: »We cannot do without representation. If only we could do without representation«. Monotheist religions, scientific theories, contemporary arts, not to forget political theories, have all struggled with this contradictory urge of producing and also destroying representations, images and emblems of all sorts. Through many works of ancient, modern and contemporary arts, through many scientific instruments, the show will fathom that quandary which has been so important for the self-understanding of the Western world. It aims at moving beyond the image wars by showing that behind this dramatic history of destruction of images, something else has always been going on: a cascade of image production which will be made visible throughout the exhibit, in the traditional christian images as well as in the scientific laboratories and in the various experiments of contemporary art, music, cinema and architecture.
While the big struggles of iconoclasts against icon worshippers were going on, another history of iconophily has always been at work. This alternative history of the Western obsession with image worship and destruction will allow the establishment of less biased comparisons with other cultures influential in the rest of the world for which images have a very different role to play.
Not an art show, not a science and art show, not an history of art show, Iconoclash offers a bewildering display of experiments on how to suspend the iconoclastic gesture and how to renew the movement of images against any freeze-framing.
With numerous documents, scientific objects [cloud chamber, spark chamber, mathematical models, images from chaos theory and astronomy et al.], religious idols [medieval altar retables, reconstruction of a stupa with tibetian buddha figures et al.], and artworks by Arman, Art & Language, Fiona Banner, Willi Baumeister, Christian Boltanski, Candice Breitz, Günther Brus, Daniel Buren, Lucas Cranach, Max Dean, Marcel Duchamp, Albrecht Dürer, Lucio Fontana, Felix Gmelin, Francisco de Goya, Hans Haacke, Richard Hamilton, Young Hay, Arata Isozaki, Martin Kippenberger, Imi Knoebel, Komar & Melamid, Joseph Kosuth, Kasimir Malevich, Gordon Matta-Clark, Gustav Metzger, Tracey Moffat, Nam June Paik, Sigmar Polke, Stephen Prina, Man Ray, Rembrandt van Rijn, Sophie Ristelhuber, Axel Roch, Jeffrey Shaw, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Franz Erhard Walther, and many others.
The exhibitions is accompanied by a comprehensive publication [MIT Press] on the theme of the show and a leaflet [german].
You can order the catalog via the Museum store.