NGBK Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst

instant theory

Die M-Fotoserie des Merve Verlags

22 May - 29 Jul 2020

Exhibition veiw
instant theory
Die M-Fotoserie des Merve Verlags
22 May - 29 July 2020

The 1980s saw the emergence of a boundless interest in philosophical, aesthetic and emancipatory theory. At this time, the West Berlin publisher Merve was a meeting place for intellectual and artistic exchange. This network was documented by the publishers Heidi Paris and Peter Gente in many spontaneous photographs.

The exhibition shows images from this archive – portraits of figures from the Berlin scene and the world of publishing, and of artists and experimental musicians. By retrospectively mapping their relationships and connections, the zeitgeist of the period and alternative modes of production are examined from today’s perspective. Contextualizing texts, video interviews and accompanying events deal with questions like: What are the vectors of alternative knowledge dissemination? What, in this context, are the functions of collectivity, seriality, chaos and friendship? What is the difference between a collective and a network, and what danger lies in their respective openness to neoliberal co-opting? Why have visibilities like that of women or of the work of translating in (independent) text production often been unequally distributed (something that continues to be the case) and which shifts in value are needed here? The exhibition pursues these questions and asserts their ongoing relevance in the present.