In any moment, it’s nearly impossible to locate or isolate shifts, changes in tendencies, whether social, aesthetic, or otherwise—banal critical statement of the year, certainly. But, as we’ve probed several times within this very publication and surely as others have as well, for Berlin’s (and the art world’s at large) current state of flux, of non-identity and non-identification, perhaps such a naming is needed. For Robin van den Akker, Timotheus Vermeulen, and gallerist Tanja Wagner, that name is Metamodernism.
“When I was looking for artists for my program, I was seeing a lot of new tendencies and sensibilities in terms of artists really wanting to have a dialogue again,” says Wagner, “they want to engage again, but not in a dry conceptual way. These artists want affect again, they want to talk about love, which I thought was almost not possible.” One cannot deny Wagner’s observations. Hypothetically viewing a Koons or a Hirst next to works in “Discussing Metamodernism,” an exhibition component to this Metamodern moniker at her gallery, would result in nothing short of polar opposition.
Certainly these newer works are rooted in a postmodern landscape. But its tectonic plates have shifted with time, allowing what could be qualified as an almost modernist or neo-romantic sensibility to ooze up from the cracks. “I think it emerges partly from the variety of crises that we’re in,” says Vermeulen, “[the] geopolitical crisis and the economical crisis are affecting us. People from my generation always thought that we’d have better lives than our parents, and now we are realising that it’s possible that we won’t.” Strangely however, when such generational disappointment could easily lead to an utterly postmodern response of “fuck it, we’ll fail anyhow,” the metamodern sensibility is quite the opposite. Out of loss in art, politics, bottom lines or otherwise, has come a resurgent hopefulness, or, even at times when the outlook isn’t hopeful at all, a willingness to try.
Read the full article here.