With “Merdre”, the first explosive word of Ubu Roi that premiered at the Theatre de l’Oeuvre in Paris in 1896, the French author Alfred Jarry gave a primal scream on modernity and with it simultaneously invented the Theatre of the Absurd.
Jarry’s writings, his eccentric life and behavior inspired artists and writers such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Marcel Duchamp, Antonin Artaud and Georges Perec. Sentences such as: “I will excruciatingly enrich myself, gain power, then I will kill everyone and run away“, by which Pere Ubu / Alfred Jarry entered the world stage as an “enfant terrible” reveals not only his biting humor but also his address of power resulting in a wrenching criticism of society.
The artists selected for this exhibition echo Jarry’s themes and concerns. They belong to different generations with complementary stories and sensitivities, but each of them, in his or her own way, engages in the here and now. The concept of sculpture as performance and participation is certainly central. The performance brings one back into the immediate present – from a static presentation in painting, sculpture or photography to an experience of art that unfolds in time. A rebellious stance towards life and society addressing issues such as the body, identity, Heimat and the void are equally of importance.
Finally the exhibition attempts to raise a question passed on from one generation to another, asked time after time, originally by Aristoteles: “Tell me, what is the difference between actuality and potentiality?“