Fragile Narratives

Memphis, Linz (AT), 5 – 27/6 2019

Exhibition curated by Klaus Speidel

Opening & Artist Talk : 4/6 2019 7pm

With: Katarina Burin, Nikolaus Gansterer, Benjamin Hugard, Dejan Kaludjerović, Michèle Pagel, Estefania Peñafiel Loaiza, Tom Schmelzer, Anneliese Schrenk, Nita Tandon

curated by Klaus Speidel

At a time where « big narratives » are evoked and invoked everywhere and politicians and managers practice storytelling, contemporary art has remained deeply skeptical of narrative. According to James Elkins, avoiding narration is one of the great dogmas of contemporary art: only « truncated narratives like Fischl’s; or emblems that seem to be taken from narratives, like Koons’s pornographic pictures or Sherman’s movie stills » are still acceptable. In contemporary art, observing, constructing, mark-making, collecting, categorizing, measuring, describing, labeling, showing, even offering or testing are more common than storytelling.

After many centuries where art was all about storytelling, many artists and theorists believed, like Konrad Fiedler, that « the content of art is nothing but the form itself ». As stories are not inherent in the works, art theorists like Jacob Burckhardt or Gottfried Boehm argued that they lead artists and viewers astray by directing their gaze away from the means of expression inherent in each art form. Thus, narration has had a difficult stance in art and its theory since the end of the 19th century. Nevertheless, and this is one argument of the exhibition, storytelling has not entirely disappeared from art. It rather appeared in new forms and places.

« Fragile Narratives » brings together different forms of narration in contemporary art, while at the same time inviting a reflection on the problematic aspects of storytelling when it is used in an attempt to dominate and offer unique viewpoints. But not only the works in the show are interpreted as fragile narratives. Curating itself is also addressed as a fragile narrative, one that is not uniquely determined by the works an exhibition brings together. Thus, different narrations develop around each of the works in the show, with some overlapping or even contradicting each other.


Untere Donaulände 12 / 4020 Linz

Opening Hours
Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 1 — 6pm

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