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Perfect Lives

14.08. – 09.10. 2016

Robert Ashley, Trisha Baga, Loretta Fahrenholz, Fabian Hesse, Sasha Litvintseva

The group exhibition presents artistic reflections and considerations on alternative realities. Its title is derived from Robert Ashley’s television opera of the same name, in which bank heists, cocktail bars, geriatric love and adolescent marriage are staged in the American Midwest and are shown to viewers in the form of cut-ups and samplings set amidst an unreal television landscape. Ashley’s work plays with the perception of images, language and music, mixing story-telling, meditation and visual effects into a complex construct of a non-actual reality. It delineates a landscape that can be found parallel to our real world and produces new forms of human authenticity.

For the exhibition "Perfect Lives" the Kunstverein Göttingen has brought together five artistic positions whose works revolve around the issues of difference in identity, of artificiality and of group formation. The videos and sculptural works on display allow the current constitution of our society to emerge as a complex image: they thematize self-marketing and consumption, neo-liberalism or state controls, make use of noise and examine alternative life scenarios. The works show past-devouring, hyper-real holiday resorts or employ New York as a post-apocalyptic setting. They understand identities as whipped-up 3D meshes and drifting datasets or turn the artificial normality-bubble of a cruise ship into a culture shock. Here, identity does not define any firm entity but circumscribes the liquid and changeable validity of a person or thing. The works embrace happenstance and improvisation and are marked by a generous non-fixedness, because everything could also be entirely different. They present images of possible realities by means of which utopias, subcultures and parallel societies are put to the test and alternative constructions of identity can, or could, emerge. The artworks involved thus become entwined both with one another and within their own narrative matrices. They function as commentaries on present-day societal phenomena and are at the same time blueprints for futures ranging from the utopian to dystopian.

As composers we built the car, but we don’t tell you where to drive it. These were the words used by the pianist “Blue” Gene Tyranny* to describe the thinking behind the TV opera Perfect Lives. The present group exhibition in the Kunstverein Göttingen takes up this idea and presents a constellation of works as tools and implements enabling one to head out and set off into one’s own inner landscapes.

With artistic works by Robert Ashley, Trisha Baga, Loretta Fahrenholz, Fabian Hesse and Sasha Litvintseva.

  • quoted from: “Yes, But Is It Edible?” (ed. Will Holder/Alex Waterman)