The current art, which takes up political issues, does not change anything in the social and political conditions anyway: This is a frequent accusation against artists. But examples show that contemporary art is much better than its reputation.
After all, this art does not change the prevailing conditions, this is a popular reproach today against those artists who are committed to political goals with a socially critical intention. And unfortunately, this is also true: if, to give an example, war veterans, at the behest of Santiago Sierra, stand motionless and silent in a corner and turn their backs on the audience, then they will not prevent another second of fighting and death.
Neither in Syria nor anywhere else does Sierra intervene in the course of history, but it does enable encounters with those involved in the war from the middle of society, who make people think and remind you that they are individuals who go to war and with trauma come back burdened.
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All these artists refute a reservation that is often heard: current art deals too little with decidedly aesthetic issues and is all too simply content with the correct goal of confirming a left-liberal worldview. The demand that painting must again be given greater consideration in the major thematic and thesis exhibitions appears regressive to you. Because painting was particularly well represented although it did not come from the well-known scene greats, but in many cases from authors from Albania, India, Australia and Mongolia unknown.
A demand that can also be heard is completely bizarre: a break of any kind must now go through art. What is needed is a kind of reset, a restart of the artistic imagination, as if it could be urged from outside. Certainly, a far-reaching economization of today’s art makes it a suspect object of desire. The rest is done by the lavish range of large periodical exhibitions, to put it mildly, which are quite shamelessly commercialized and marketed for various purposes, including tourism. But this shouldn’t obscure the real qualities of contemporary art either: it is better than its current reputation.