Discussing Metamodernism

Discussing Metamodernism is the first exhibition in Europe discussing, as the title says, metamodernism. It brings into dialogue contemporary artists whose work engages with this changing world in affective and constructive ways in thinking anew about our present and future. Structured around four debates – engagement, affect, post-irony, and storytelling – it asks: how can we make a change, today? How can we be in touch, intimate, in love? How can we be earnest?

Postmodernism is over. As global warming, the credit crunch and political instabilities are rapidly taking us beyond that so prematurely proclaimed ‘End of History’, the postmodern culture of relativism, irony and pastiche, too, is superseded by another sensibility. One that evokes the will to look forward, that invokes the will to hope again.

Discussing Metamodernism brings into dialogue contemporary artists whose work engages with this changing world in affective and constructive ways in thinking anew about our present and future. The exhibition is structured around four debates – engagement, affect, post-irony, and storytelling – with each debate addressing another set of questions: how can we make a change, today? How can we be in touch, intimate, in love? How can we be earnest? How can I believe you? Which story should I tell you? Which story should I tell myself? Together, these debates explore the possibilities of the arts today in addressing the concerns of the world tomorrow.

Metamodernism is the concept used in recent philosophy to describe the period after postmodernism. The prefix ‘meta’ here stands for metaxy (μεταξύ): oscillation. Metamodernism oscillates, swings back and forth, between the global and the local; between concept and material; between postmodern irony and a renewed modern enthusiasm. It yearns for a truth it knows it may never find, it strives for sincerity without lacking humour, it engages precisely by embracing doubt.

Since metamodernism was introduced into the debate by the cultural philosophers Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in the late 2000s, it has been the topic of numerous conferences, symposia and debates. Articles about metamodernism have been published in various journals, magazines and books, among others: The Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, Frieze, and MONU. Two books are currently in preparation.

Galerie Tanja Wagner is pleased to present Discussing Metamodernism with works by Ulf Aminde, Yael Bartana, Monica Bonvicini, Mariechen Danz, Annabel Daou, Paula Doepfner, Olafur Eliasson, Mona Hatoum, Andy Holden, Šejla Kamerić, Ragnar Kjartansson, Kris Lemsalu, Issa Sant, David Thorpe and Angelika J. Trojnarski and Luke Turner/Nastja Rönkkö, curated in collaboration with Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen.