Curated by Tomke Braun and José Segebre
The ouroboros: a snake coils up and around itself. It devours its own body and remerges anew. The exhibition “Self Bites Self” in Kunstverein Göttingen takes this symbol as a starting point. Having symbolized a cyclical understanding of nature and the world across cultures and epochs, the ouroboros functions in this group show as an allegory to reflect on artistic practices and poetic productions of the self.
A fantastical and playful approach to subject formation binds the exhibited works of Viviana Abelson, AA Bronson, Corinna Helenelund, Arielle de Pinto and José Luis Viesca Rivas. They adopt artistic processes in which the ego enters a continuously generative spiral, a loop of deformation and reformation. The artworks’ form bears traces of the eternal process of becoming.
But just as the image of the ouroboros is characterized by a narcissistic aggressiveness, an urgency underlies those fantastic and playful moments. The possibility of defining oneself in new and different ways is often equated with the neo-liberal appeal for self-optimization and instrumentalized for this purpose. The idea of one's own being as a fluid form therefore carries a utopian potential that must be continually asserted alongside established social norms. “Self Bites Self” thus foregrounds an intuitive approach to the dissolution of habitual thinking patterns, engendering a prism of thoughts and images of the self.
The exhibition "Self Bites Self" is supported by Stiftung Niedersachsen and Frame Contemporary Art Finland.