We joined the Wuerttembergischer Kunstverein (WKV) in January 2005 with a clear aim and the remit to create a new profile for the arts association. Our concept for this new profile was oriented to the heterogeneity of contemporary artistic practice as well as to production in the cultural and scientific fields that are today interrelated at many different levels. This means that our programme development drew on a diverse range of local and international networks. We don’t curate everything ourselves but rather, regularly invite external curators to co-produce a project with us or with other participants. This is because current artistic practices extend into social and scientific fields that are so highly differentiated that one cannot help but incorporate a range of people with diverse skills.
The annual programme of the WKV consists of circa 10 exhibitions that address various aspects of contemporary art. Graphics, painting and sculpture – re-defined as ‘classical media’ – are as much a part of these exhibitions as are the various fields of media arts, sound-art, performance and film. The main focus is on artistic practices that question social ‘realities’ and representations in various ways. The programme also includes lecture series, workshops, symposiums and screenings that either underpin individual aspects of the current exhibition or take place independently, an example of the latter being a 4-day workshop with film performances, which addressed 1960s / 1970s concepts of Expanded Cinema. (Curator: Mark Webber, London).
We are also interested in process-based exhibition projects that, like “On Difference” or “Muntadas–Protokolle” (both 2006), rest on an open concept that first takes shape in collaboration with the artists. In this respect, we understand the arts association as being an interface of art, research, production and the public.
In the last forty years, countless opportunities for expanding the scope of cultural and scientific production networks have emerged parallel to the established institutions, and given rise to independent niches for decentralised activities that foster their own publics. This scope and the artistic practices, such as ‘Net-Art’, engendered by it cannot readily be transposed to the institutional context or, at best, only in a translated form. Of course, every exhibition is a translation yet, in this latter case, the transfer from one venue to another is decisive, for they constitute different sounding boards that are barely compatible. One might well argue that such cultural practices don’t even belong in the institutional context. The mediation of contemporary art would however, be very much distorted as a result.
Iris Dressler / Hans D. Christ (2007)