The Werner Nekes Collection from the perspective of contemporary art
June 20 – August 23, 2009
C3 Foundation – Műcsarnok / Kunsthalle Budapest
They guide, captivate, entice and mislead the viewer’s attention: anamorphosis, peep-show, kaleidoscope, perspective theatre, magic lantern. Many of today’s contemporary artists are working with the images of those apparatuses or optical devices which we consider the forerunners of present-day media – the film, the television and the digital media. o The artists ftenintegrate these historical media in their work, and use them simultaneously with video, the digital camera and the computer. Their interest, however, is not nostalgia, but a way to question the purpose of today’s barrage of images, an analysis of the status of our current mode of seeing, and a visualization of the process of image creation.
The exhibition Blickmaschinen / Visual Tactics explores the subject with the works – the earliest made in the 1950s – of 45 contemporary artists, among them Dennis Adams, Olafur Eliasson, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Douglas Gordon, Rodney Graham, William Kentridge, Mischa Kuball, Pipilotti Rist, Thomas Ruff, Robert Smithson,, and Attila Csörgo, Miklós Erdély, Dóra Maurer, Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák from Hungary. Their works appear in the company of a selection of 200 items from the acclaimed media history collection of film maker Werner Nekes.
Through this juxtaposition the exhibition offers a special perspective on the origin of technological imagery production, and on the interplay of fiction and reality, of vision and illusion. With the cultural historical relics of the Nekes Collection, the historical evolution of image making can be seen vis-à-vis the relevant technological possibilities. The objects are presented at this thematic display in groupings that correspond to the media-archaeological stations , some in showcases, some allowing visitors to have a hands-on experience.
By contrast, the contemporary works of artvisualize the specific conditions and characteristics that determine creation of artistic imagery and the questioning of images Materializing passed down concepts and contraptions means more than resuscitation: it contains the potential for development and innovation, for astonishment and experimentation.Comparing the images made with the various devices and technologies with the processing capacity of the human eye, it also becomes possible to examine what in fact vision is: a process both visual (perceptive, receptive) and cognitive (creative).