This show brings together a disparate range of artists, in terms of style and geography, all addressing a central issue of our time: fear. The Politics of Fear is a gripping theme focused on principles, governance and society. Throughout history the arts has helped to voice the concerns of humanity—sometimes to an uneasy public. This exhibition will highlight global and “local” anxieties in the context of art as interpreted by artists that seem to draw this subject out in their work.
This is largely a show about misunderstanding and misinterpretation. In a way, it is our intolerance of different ways of living and different belief systems that have led to a persistent undercurrent of nervous tension—an endless sense of non-specific threat. It seems that the focus of politics today is to play on people's fears, their inability to assess threats, their ignorance so that consistency and law seem to have little to do with governance.
Just as politics and religion make dangerous bedfellows and tend towards totalitarian extremism, politics and art do not lie well together. The history of social expression through art and political commentary through art can be evidenced through such masterpieces as The Execution of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico by Manet or Picasso’s Guernica or Mark di Suvero and Rikrit Tiravanija’s Peace Tower. The use of history to allow us to learn from our mistakes in the past is commonplace (think of the great anti-Nazi paintings that Anselm Kiefer made in the 1980s). Art has an important role to play as a catalyst for society. It should be a harbinger of future problems and a stimulant to avoid falling into the same traps that we have fallen into before.
In this respect, art subscribes to idealism and it is this aspect of contemporary art creation that ALBION and the artists are interested in exploring with this exhibition.