Dedicated to a proposition

20.11.04 — 20.02.05

Group exhibition

Curated by Wim Peeters

Participating artists Mike Bouchet, Terence Koh, Robin Rhode, Joost Conijn, Paul Graham, Enrique Metinides, Damian Ortega, Ana Torfs, Chris Burden, Luc Tuymans, Leon Grodski, Francis Alÿs, Gerard Byrne, Guy Mees, Gert Robijns, among others

During the American Civil War (1863), president Abraham Lincoln addressed the American people: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” An exhibition of some twenty contemporary artists that is inspired by Lincoln’s “Dedicated to a Proposition” automatically hooks up with today’s international political situation.

On November 4, 2000, the Mexican/ Belgian artist Francis Alÿs bought a 9mm pistol and walked around with it in the streets of Mexico City until he was arrested by the police. The action was recorded on videotape: one tape shows the original action, another shows the re-staging of the action with the consent of the police. “Re-enactments” shows the thin borderline between reality and fiction. The American artist Mike Bouchet dropped hundreds of jeans out of a Cessna plane in Colombia. The jeans had been made in local sweatshops in Colombia. On November 6, Bouchet did a dropping of jeans in Antwerp out of a regular car.

Dedicated to a Proposition” as an exhibition can be termed “pre-emptive”. Through the ideas and images that are presented in the exhibition, it approximates the complex shifts and developments that surround us. Some twenty national and international artists were invited to think about art and society within the framework of the show’s mission. “Dedicated to a Proposition” looks forward and backwards at the same time. Two art-historical landmarks frame the complex correlations between art, the present and a future horizon: in 1903, the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch hung his paintings for the first time on a white wall. That seemingly insignificant intervention meant a radical turn in the way we deal with art and look at art. Théodore Géricault was the first to base a painting (Le radeau de la Méduse) on a (politically controversial) newspaper article. That way he tried to restore the link between an actual event (a shipwreck) and the public impact of an art work.

What is the place of art in society today? How does art relate to the media and to the information that reaches us through those media? “Dedicated” investigates the possibilities and ambitions of art on different levels, in relation to society and in the different liaisons that art establishes with politics, economy, populism, mass media, ideology, activism and art history.

Terence Koh, Robin Rhode and Mike Bouchet were invited for a three-month residency in Antwerp. The show will also include new works by Gert Robijns and Sebastian Diaz Morales.


- 'Dedicated to a Proposition', in De Witte Raaf (in Dutch)

Location Extra City - Graansilo Kattendijkdok, Mexicostraat, Kattendijkdok, Kaai 44, 2030 Antwerpen