The unique history of the Kunstvereine (art associations), which have always been devoted to the presentation and discussion of contemporary art, means first and foremost that these institutions are committed to maintaining a radical openness and working towards shaping the future of art. In line with this approach, the exhibitions mounted by the Badischer Kunstverein focus on artistic practices that do not cling to a notion of art as a self-referential system, but instead actively challenge contemporary social, political and cultural processes in the sense of an expanded concept of art. Besides presenting contemporary artistic positions, the exhibitions at the Badischer Kunstverein also feature the work of artists from the 1960s and 70s whose contributions have for a variety of reasons been neglected and/or are significant in terms of understanding current developments. In this way, the programme reconfirms the Badischer Kunstverein’s long-standing tradition of staging challenging exhibitions, including a number of groundbreaking projects on artistic avant-gardes.
The specific spatial characteristics of the Badischer Kunstverein favour a working method based on parallel programming and placing emphasis on process-oriented and experimental approaches. Solo exhibitions alternate with thematic group shows on the upper floor of the Kunstverein, while in the atrium, a series entitled “On the Spot” provides a platform for experimental artistic processes. Here, artists and curators are invited to create work and devise exhibition concepts in close collaboration with the Kunstverein team and in direct relation to the specific spatial situation.
Another major aspect of the work of the Badischer Kunstverein is a varied programme of initiatives and events geared towards the communication and discussion of art. To this end, the ‘Waldstrassensaal’ has been transformed from an exhibition space into a function room and information centre. Since 2007 it has also housed a video and magazine archive. This new format presents video works by young artists alternately with magazine projects by artists, architects and theorists for the duration of an exhibition. The films and publications are subsequently collected and made available to visitors during opening hours for the purposes of research and viewing.
Anja Casser (2008)