Perpetual Battles is a group exhibition that considered the creative potential of conflict, engaging artists who actively isolate, investigate, and aggravate the violence underlying the everyday experience of contemporary society. The exhibition featured new works and site-specific commissions by Adel Abdessemed, Saadane Afif, Wilfrid Almendra, Latifa Echakhch, Claire Fontaine, Cyprien Gaillard, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Thomas Hirschhorn, Oscar Tuazon, Ida Tursic and Wilfried Mille, and Raphael Zarka.
In Discipline and Punish (1975), French philosopher Michel Foucault posits that conflict is not something outside of society, which launches an attack; it is something that constitutes the very fabric of society, allowing for the development of new order. Drawing on Foucault’s seminal text, Perpetual Battles acts as an echo room, amplifying the not-so-distant roar of battle, as it resounds in contemporary art and theory. Violence emerges in manifold forms: from philosophical attempts to describe or incite political upheaval, to the “fight clubs” of disenfranchised populations, to war-games that recast conflict as mass-media entertainment.
Perpetual Battles will be complemented by a forthcoming bilingual reader, which surveys the complex philosophical arguments around the issues of violence, beginning with Georges Sorel’s 1908 Reflexions sur la violence, and carrying through to the contemporary debates of Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar and the Invisible Committee, as selected by Guillaume Garreta, Program Director at the International College of Philosophy (Paris). As a special feature of the reader, philosopher Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, author of After Foucault, will contribute a commissioned article exploring the evolution of the “distant roar of battle” within Foucault’s writing and its resonance within the broader French philosophical landscape.
The May 27th opening event featured a performance by Koudlam.
Perpetual Battles was a featured exhibition of the Year of France in Russia 2010.
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© 2010 BAIBAKOV art projects