Now on view: Future Bodies from a Recent Past at Museum Brandhorst
Between organism and machine, fear and confident euphoria. The exhibition "Future Bodies from a Recent Past" at Museum Brandhorst impresses with an exceptional selection of paintings, sculptures and installations from the last seven decades. The focus lies on the parameters of body, machine and sculpture.
We live in a world of simultaneity. We move and act in the physical world, but at the same moment we communicate, produce and consume in digital spheres. Our accounts and avatars exist as complementary extensions to our physical bodies. Developments like the metaverse further drive these duplications. Artificial intelligence and virtual realities create ephemeral spaces where a new physicality emerges. But the interface and portal between the physical and digital worlds are always the technologies that enable the two-way exchange between the polar spheres in the first place.
The exhibition "Future Bodies from a Recent Past - Sculpture, Technology, Body since the 1950s" at Museum Brandhorst is dedicated to this reciprocal interpenetration of body and technology. Over 100 works by around 60 artists are presented on two levels and brought into a common context. The focus is on art from Europe, the USA and Japan after the Second World War. Starting from the technological developments and incisions in the second half of the 20th century, the exhibition takes a look at the changed conception and self-perception of "corporeality".
Fragmented and modulated, organic and mechanical. The body-instances in the exhibition appear in different shapes and forms. Individual limbs are separated from the rest of their bodies and are shown as examples; in other works, several hybrid figures are arranged into groups to form a common body. The exhibition is divided into different sections, the overarching arc for a structured frame of reference is the reflection on the ideational impact of technological developments on society. The works on display respond to technological changes, relate to innovations, and question the relationship between technology, people, the body, and sculpture.
The works shown oscillate between futuristic utopia and critical dystopia. New technologies are fascinating and can be frightening at the same time, as they hint at changes whose consequences are not always foreseeable. They inspire hope and stoke fears in equal measure. Thus, the works reflect a certain critical distance from the technological advances to which they refer.
Text by Quirin Brunnmeier, first published in German on gallerytalk.net