from top: Pawel Althamer, Bródno People © Pawel Althamer, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz; Paul Chan, Sade for Sade's sake © Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali; Marko Lehanka, Ohne Titel (Bauerndenkmal) © Marko Lehanka; Thomas Schütte, Vater Staat © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011, Zoe Leonard, Tree © Zoe Leonard
"Before the Law" ("Vor dem Gesetz"), a title borrowed from the infamous short story by Franz Kafka, is an astonishing exhibition at Museum Ludwig, showing sculptural post-war works. Contemporary and older artists, such as Bruce Nauman, Pawel Althammer, Alberto Giacometti, Joseph Beuys and Paul Chan, are assembled to discuss the individual's role, its dignity and its power in relation to the state. "Vater Staat" by Thomas Schütte and " untitled: staircase" by Phyllida Barlow visualize the state's and system's giantness - its force - with monumental sculptures. Other works, as for instance the untitled farmers' monument by Marko Lehanka deal with rituals, intoxicating riots or possible revolutions. My favorite piece, however, is the silent, several-hours-long video projection "Sade for Sade's sake" by Paul Chan. It exposes a naked and trembling society that seems to be located in a frightening dystopian time: everybody is fornicating each other, crawling on the floor, pulling and pushing each other. Humankind is transformed into an anarchistic group of animals, simply following its instincts. The piece is hypnotizing and disturbing - revealing a nightmarish end (or a possible restart) of our society, as if it was silently and desperately screaming the sentence "human dignity is inviolable".
The exhibition is not preaching, its rather food for thoughts: As a mass confronted with the government - how much power do we really have? How much can we chance to the better? And how much dignity do we really have left?
Before the Law / Vor dem Gesetz
until 22. April.2012
Museum Ludwig Köln
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 6pm, 10€ / 7€
from top: Bruce Nauman, Carousel,© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011; Phyllida Barlow
untitled: staircase,© Phyllida Barlow and Hauser & Wirth