ExhibitionYou want it darker

Hanne Hagenaars

The cosmos is screaming. Concrete is witness to the violence it took to thrash it into becoming a wall. The concrete is screaming. The grass is buckling under the teeth of animals. And mankind? What can we say about mankind? (Houellebecq)

‘A dead poet no longer writes. So it is important that you continue to live’ according to Houellebecq.
In order to live in a body, that body has to stay alive. Eat, sleep, communicate, continue to hope. Be brave. Touch.

Ambulatory bags of liquid. The flow must not be interrupted.
The body thinks, wants to do good, but often does not know how.
Eat and be eaten.

How to live, that is the question.

'That mankind can't even stand on his own two feet’, that is how I once heard it formulated by the artist Berend Strik, that all of us together aren't capable of making a better world, every night you could take this thought to bed with you and wake up again every morning.

The body lives, but how and on what. It needs food, clothing, a home. The body functions within an economic model, neoliberal thought is (though we may not even realise it) the sea in which we swim and the air that we breath in and out. Everything for economic profitability.
How can we escape the idea that work has become our identity, closely pursued by fear of failure, burnouts. The body works, and works, and works.

It is in the visual arts that ‘value’ becomes less tangible. Everyone lives behind blinkers formed by their own values, without even realising it. If you were raised in a religious environment, this is what determines your reality, or if your parents were hippies, an entirely different version of the world will have formed in your brain. You are trapped in the body you were given. Imagination, however, takes you to places you have not yet visited and tells you stories you have not yet heard. Watching or listening, now and again we are able to transcend all that is physical and expand our mental space. Embracing the unknown, therein lies an important value of art. And it helps us keep the door firmly closed on judgement. About good and evil, about what should and should not be allowed, moral judgement.

Many people think that art is about beauty, but it is actually fuelled by the dark side of mankind. If you look at the world, it isn’t all that beautiful at all, and this is what we must learn to accept. Happiness, and focussing on it, camouflages the dark recesses of our existence. The dark side of art connects you (secretly) with the less attractive characteristics and imperfections that lurk beneath the surface of every human being. And acknowledging your own darker side is probably the most terrifying adventure of all.

The group exhibition ‘You want it darker’ uses meticulously chosen works that, as it were, weave a web around the body: how to live/survive? Because there is always the realisation that you can only make something of the world if you are alive/have a body. There is a good reason why Houellebecq called his essay: To Stay Alive - A Method.