Tell them we said no
Will a new form of collectivity follow the age of hyperindividuality? What sways common experience? And what does the withdrawal of the individual mean for art?
The Frances Scholz class of Braunschweig’s University of Fine Arts conceived this group exhibition not as a display of genius and autonomous works, but rather as an examination of the relationship between collaboration and individual artistic stances.
The exhibition was preceded by a zine workshop with the American artists V. Vale and Marian Wallace where the class explored concepts of artistic self restriction and rejections of consumerism and notions of success. As a form of consensus, the “no” in the exhibition title references mechanisms within the art world as well as university obligations. It also describes an artistic approach: can a withdrawal, even from the image itself, be seen as a form of protest?
Like the class’ installation Kennen Sie Turner? which was shown this April at the New York project space Shoot the Lobster, the current exhibition was a collective effort and conceived site-specifically. The contradictions and disruptions, but also the unity and the strength that came out of their collaborative creative process are on show here. The resulting works reject the idea of single authorship and form a playful yet precise whole that does not allow for any additions or changes.
What is clearly transmitted by the work of the Scholz class is the insight that processes of change can only be conceived together, but it also conveys a sense of unease owing to the absence of utopias – both social and economical.
Text by Diana Weis / 2017
Translated by Katja Taylor