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  [UNFINISHED BUSINESS. Dutch Abstracts]

Kunstverein Medienturm
Josefigasse 1, 8020 Graz

Tue-Fri 2-6 p.m.
Sat 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Opening: 08.05.2008 7 p.m.

Supported by:
Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam, Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, Styrian Government /cultural department, City of Graz /cultural department
Kunstverein Medienturm presents the group show UNFINISHED BUSINESS – DUTCH ABSTRACTS. The exhibition with Dutch-based artists, working in the field of non-objective /abstract art, features as a second part of a duo exhibition, the first part being AUSTRIAN ABSTRACTS in Amsterdam, 2006.
Nowadays, one can sense a new interest in modernism and its variants amongst younger artists all over the world. For Holland and Austria being totally different countries with a very different history in modernism and very different geographic and political positions, it's interesting to look closer into the local aspects in this usually unlocal territory of art. UNFINISHED BUSINESS is about isolation breaking the isolation. It's about locality and internationalism, new and traditional ways of generating abstraction and its about progression and reference.

The visual language of the avant-garde used to be the abstraction. Somewhere in the sixties things turned around. For many decades ever since modernism and progression seemed to be a paradox. It seems the post-modern era has turned against itself just as the modernism did. Non-objective art merely was considered as a reference to a tradition than as progression. It even could be described as academic. Maybe the biggest theoretical contributor of abstract art Clement Greenberg himself was amongst the first to notice the paradox in 1968: “Viewed strictly as art, the 'sublime' usually does reverse itself and turn (by its own success, JMV) into the banal [...]. And this is why the new versions of the 'sublime', offered by 'novelty' art in its latest phase, to the extent that they do 'transcend' aesthetic valuation, remain banal and trivial instead of simply unsuccessful, or minor.” (1) In 1984, Donald Judd could have been seen as reactionary by some groups. Today, his words rather seem visionary: “Now we're all supposed to be 'doing our own thing'. Art will become the occasional gesture of the isolated person.” (2)
Maybe some of the new generations of artists are tired of being isolated individuals. They carry the burden of the recent post modern past but not that of the modernistic past. Will this new interest in modernism lead to progression in art or is it only a nostalgic trip? Or maybe can these opposites go together?

(1) Greenberg, Clement, Avant Garde Attitudes, The Jon Power Lecture in Contemporary Art, 17 May 1968, Power Institute of Fine Arts, University of Sydney, 1969
(2) Judd, Donald, A long discussion not about master-pieces but why there are so few of them, Part I, Art in America, New York, September 1984, p. 9 – 19

Geeske Bijker, Krijn de Koning, Driessens & Verstappen, Jan Robert Leegte, Peter Luining, Remko Scha, Martijn Schuppers, Jasper van der Graaf, Jan van der Ploeg, Jochem van der Spek, Ab van Hanegem, Jan Maarten Voskuil, Thomas Wildner

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Jasper van der Graaf, UNTITLED, 2006. Mural, 250 x 500 cm.