Ausstellung examples to follow! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability

examples to follow! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability opens on August 5th 2012 in the presence of the curator Adrienne Goehler in Beijing. The exhibition is a project by the Goethe-Institut China, the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German International Cooperation) and Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, in cooperation with the German Embassy in Beijing.

The finiteness of our energy reserves, the impending climate change, the shrinking of biodiversity have deeply penetrated and alarmed public consciousness even before the world climate summits in Copenhagen and Cancun, where “nothing but compromises” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) were reached and the very recent Rio +20 conference, which “produced the weakest imaginable commitment to greening the global economy “ (The Economist). After these summits, the question of the possibility for individual action is even more urgent. We need visions of a sustainable life that interconnect with the sensuality, lust and passion of acting on our own.

“examples to follow! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability” intends to encourage individual actions and to move the cultural and aesthetic dimension of sustainability into the focus of our senses, thus counteracting the visible erosion of the term. The exhibition aims at raising awareness for the fact that sustainability in a comprehensive sense must include the arts and sciences. Forging sustainability needs to learn from art how to think in transitions, find interim solutions, construct models, and implement projects.

The curator Adrienne Goehler selected artists who dissolve boundaries between art, activism and inventions and connect the experiences of environmental initiatives with their own artistic approach. A range of video works, photographs, performances and installations dealing with the cultural dimension of sustainability are presented.

The exhibition was first opened in Berlin (Germany) in 2010, and has already been shown at several cities before, e.g. the German cities Bremen and Hamburg, then in Mumbai (India) followed by Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). It was awarded the 2010 special media prize of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, and received a prize as a project of Werkstatt N of the Rat für nachhaltige Entwicklung (Council for Sustainable Development).

The exhibition in Beijing will be accompanied by an extensive program of events. A Forum “Paradigm shift needed in a resource constrained world” which invites representatives from sociology, business, NGOs and politics to debate on the changes of conventional development patterns, thematic guided tours, a diverse film program as well as workshops will be organized along with the exhibition. In addition, a closing ceremony with panel discussions to the topic “resource: art” will be held on September 14th, 2012.


Artists are participating in this exhibition (in alphabetical order):

Ravi Agarwal (IND) | Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla (US | CU) | Néle Azevedo (BR) | Richard Box (GB) | Ines Doujak (A) | Olafur Eliasson (DK) | Galerie für Landschaftskunst (GER) | Dionisio González (E) | Hermann Josef Hack (GER) | Cornelia Hesse-Honegger (CH) | Christian Kuhtz (GER) | Till Leeser (GER) | Rudolf de Lippe (GER) | Renzo Martens (NL) | Manish Nai (IND) | Pioniers: Joseph Beuys (GER), Robert Smithson (US) | Dodi Reifenberg (IL | GER) | Gustavo Romano (AR) | Michael Saup (GER) | Ursula Schulz-Dornburg (GER) | David Smithson (US) | Superflex (DK) | The Yes Men (US) | Gudrun F. Widlok (GER) | Xing Danwen (CHN)

For the Beijing station, 9 more artists will join examples to follow! 7 of them coming from China (in alphabetical order):

Gao Shiqiang (CHN) | He Xiangyu (CHN) | Vincent J. F. Huang (TPE) | Ma Yongfeng (CHN) | Ayumi Matsuzaka (JP) | Sarah Lewison (US) | Wang Jiuliang (CHN) | Xu Bing (CHN) | Yang Shaobin (CHN)

Adrienne Goehler, curator of the exhibition and editor of the publication “examples to follow! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability” lives and works as a publicist and curator in Berlin. From 1989 to 2001, she was President of the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, from 2001 to 2002 Senator for Science, Research and Culture of the State of Berlin, and between 2002 and 2006 Curator of the Capital Cultural Fund, Berlin. Further publications: Verflüssigungen, Wege und Umwege vom Sozialstaat zur Kulturgesellschaft, 2006; €1000 für jeden: Freiheit. Gleichheit. Grundeinkommen (Götz Werner and Adrienne Goehler), 2010.