• WHO WAS 1968?
    28 Sept 2018 − 13 Jan 2019

    LENTOS Kunstmuseum WHO WAS 1968? Art, Architecture, Society Curated by: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer Loans by Kontakt from: Heimrad Bäcker, Stanisław Dróżdż, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak A decade of eruptions, departures and redefinitions in the steel city Linz. The year I968 marks a turning point that ushered in a new era. Across Western Europe and in the United States Student protests and workers’ revolts called into question the post-war power structure itself, while Soviet tanks bulldozed the Prague Spring into the ground and signalled the end of the hope that the Eastern Bloc would open up to the West. This exhibition harks back to the echoes of I968 in Linz and Upper Austria. Embracing the arts, architecture, music, film and literature, it unfolds for the first time a synoptic map on which key figures and moments of local history – some largely unknown to this day – are accorded a place. It enables visitors to embark on exploratory trips and to survey the rich fabric of relationships and linkages that includes points of contact with international scenarios and trends. Experiments in the aesthetic field were begun with a view to escaping from the cultural stuffiness of the first two post-war decades. The participating artists include: Claudia von Alemann, Ant Farm, Heimrad Bäcker, Josef Bauer, Bill Bollinger, Dietmar Brehm, Gerd Conradt, Waltraut Cooper, Stanisław Dróżdż, Erró, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Stano Filko, Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Timo Huber, Johann Jascha, Martha Jungwirth, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gerhard Knogler, Běla Kolářová, Juliús Koller, Peter Kubelka, Zofia Kulik, KwieKulik, Maria Lassnig, Fritz Lichtenauer, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Josef Nöbauer, OHO, Yoko Ono, Gina Pane, Friederike Pezold, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Zorka Sàglovà, Dominik Steiger, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević, Goran Trbuljak, Tucumàn Arde, Jiřì Valoch, Agnés Varda, Peter Weibel, Hannah Wilke, Jana Želibská, Želimir Žilnik, Zünd-Up


Oliver Ressler

Oliver Ressler’s projects deal with processes of democratization, analyzing them in filmic installations that refer to specific case studies. Concerning the over ten years of turmoil first evoked by such events as the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001 and the same year’s summit of the World Economic Forum in Salzburg, Ressler’s strategy has always been to apply scrutiny in the form of videos of and interviews with participants in the anti-globalization movement; results include the video "This is What Democracy Looks Like" (2002). Here, "The Sound of Music"—usually used to entice American visitors into taking tours through Salzburg during the summer—had to give way to the drumming sounds that accompanied the Robocop-uniformed police as they encircled and effectively trapped peaceful demonstrators for hours without letting them eat, drink or urinate.

Collaborative projects involving artists and political scientist Dario Azzellini have confronted the issue of civil disobedience in the context of the Italian anti-capitalist demonstration unit “Disobbedienti”; this group evolved out of “Tute Bianche,” an activist group whose members wore white overalls with padding in order to resist police forces and push through police lines, thereafter marching together in large blocks—as they did during the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001. Here, the same old question posed by the American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau in his famous 1849 essay “Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience)” is still at issue: “Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man?”1

Another done work with Azzellini in 2006, “5 Factories – Worker Control in Venezuela", analyzed changes taking place in the manufacturing sector by interviewing workers in five different factories. The protagonists talked about alternative models of self-organization and increased control by workers as a result of the “Bolivarian Process,” which provided hope that modes and conditions of working would change. Ressler’s projects thus pose questions about the shifting parameters in both democratic and post-socialist societies: while these are undergoing processes of transformation, outcomes in terms of the development of the democratic condition per se remain unclear.





1 Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Resistance to Civil Government, edited by William Rossi, second edition, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992, p. 245.

1970, Knittelfeld / AT

Ressler studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (Austria) from 1989 to 1995. He works as artist, curator, filmmaker, editor, and lecturer. Ressler often collaborates with other artists and scientists. In 2002 his video “This is what democracy looks like!” was awarded first prize of the “Internationalen Medienkunstpreis” by the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Germany).

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