Deadly Affairs

23.03 — 30.06.2019 Group exhibition

Curated by Antonia Alampi / Research curator: Caroline Ektander / Assistant curator: Zeynep Kubat

Participating artists Boris Anje, Valentino Bellini & Eileen Quinn, Don´t Follow the Wind, Jessika Khazrik, Daniel Lambo, Hira Nabi, Franziska Pierwoss, Natascha Sadr Haghighian & Ashkan Sepahvand, Neda Saeedi, Susan Schuppli, Adrien Tirtiaux and Various Artists

We are living in a time in which the human impact on our planet is so terrifyingly profound that it shall leave its traces for millennia to come. At the heart of this accelerating planetary change lies the excessive and expanding modes of extraction, production, and disposal necessary to support the perpetual economic growth inherent to the modern, and particularly Western, project.

‘Deadly Affairs’ addresses environmental injustice by bringing into view the externalities (contamination of humans and non-humans) inherent to the logic of capital accumulation. It traces the exploitation of labour, land and resources from within Europe to a space outside of its borders, focusing on how the privileges Europeans presently enjoy, and the rights granted by certain forms of citizenship, are only possible because of abuses that take place outside the confines of its jurisdiction. It does so by using the trope of toxic trades and toxic destruction, and the slow, unspectacular violence that characterises it – a violence that is often difficult to grasp, visualise and represent, since the relationship between cause and effect can be easily eluded.

The exhibition will present the work of both local and international artists engaging with a broad understanding of the toxic, bringing together the macro-political and social entanglements that facilitate its production and unjust distribution and the physical and emotional traces that it leaves behind and define its endemic presence. The artworks will exist among proverbs, poetry and stories that shed light on the diversified and shifting sources and understandings of the toxic and how it is experienced personally as well as collectively.

By encouraging a more profound understanding of the economic disparities and cultural habits that co-determine the status quo, the exhibition ultimately hopes to engage the audience in a more relational understanding of the environment and its ownership and to underscore how the unequal distribution of environmental catastrophes is a political problem – one inherently intertwined with issues of capitalism, class and race.

This exhibition is part of 'Toxic Commons', a long-term research platform on toxicity initiated by Caroline Ektander, Antonia Alampi and SAVVY Contemporary, Simone Müller and the research group 'Hazardous Travels. Ghost Acres and the Global Waste Economy' of the Rachel Carson Center which includes researchers Ayushi Dhawan, Maximilian Feichtner and Jonas Stuck.

Image: Pierre Malychef, Jessika Khazrik or The Society of False Witnesses, "Content, Contact and Danger", photography, 1995-2015-ongoing

Location Kunsthal Extra City - Antwerpen-Berchem, Eikelstraat 25-31, 2600 Antwerpen