Hannes Egger – Everything´s Changed – Nothing´s Changed
18. 11. 2020 – 27. 2. 2021 / main hall
Artist: Hannes Egger (IT)
Curator: Michal Koleček
The exhibition of Italian artist Hannes Egger prepared for the House of Arts in Ústí nad Labem refers in its title to a performance that author realized in September this year in Milan. As part of this event, the rental car with advertising board repeatedly drove through roundabouts and offered a view of changing message defined by the simple text Everything´s Changed — Nothing´s Changed. At the heart of the region heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis, Hannes Egger drew attention to dramatic shifts in the functioning of society in response to pandemic threats and at the same time he offered hope associated with a determination to face this unusual situation with an emphasis on respect for each individual destiny and the ethical dimension of relations within complex society.
This line of thinking became a starting point in preparation of author’s project for Ústí nad Labem and it was increasingly clear that in alternating waves of hope and threat, the possibility of using traditional exhibition formats for its presentation is irrevocably fading away. External, seemingly restrictive influences gradually began to be transformed by Hannes Egger into inspiring and creative stimuli, which ultimately not only co-determined the choice of expression and communication strategies of the exhibition, but also its final thematic focus. At the same time, the author implemented the project exclusively remotely without the possibility of working directly with gallery space in Ústí nad Labem, and the cooperation with the production team of Ústí nad Labem House of Arts became an important aspect shaping its final form.
The exhibition Everything´s Changed — Nothing´s Changed is thus built on a hybrid structure, while its significant — participatory — part takes place online in a virtual form. The results of this online communication will give a decisive shape to the following physical form of the exhibition presentation, which, however, in connection with the coronavirus situation, can be realized just in a closed gallery space or again virtually. The exhibition is defined by structured participatory scheme spread between closed social and cultural institutions (schools, universities, galleries, museums, theaters, concert halls, music clubs, etc.) operating mainly in Ústí nad Labem and its surroundings, artists from various fields who can not to carry out fully their everyday artistic practice, and audience who send letters to the organizing institution with their stories related to the year 2020 as part of an open call. Institutions temporarily inaccessible to the public provide within mutual cooperation selected pieces of currently unused equipment from which Hannes Egger and the production team will assemble a processual installation visible via gallery’s windows. Stories of viewers representing their 2020 experiences are published anonymously with their consent directly in the House of Arts Ústí nad Labem and on its online platforms. This material also will serve as a source for publishing author’s art publication — a kind of chronicle of 2020 prepared for publication in the form of exhibition catalog. Hannes Egger will offer some of the stories to the participating authors — actors, musicians, dancers and audiovisual artists — to interpret them, and these artistic etudes will be recorded and presented in short video format in gallery windows and online.
Hannes Egger’s exhibition in the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts thus becomes a platform for overcoming communication difficulties associated with isolation of individuals and the closure of institutions. It opens up space for reflection on the current complex pandemic period as well as the strengthening of mechanisms preventing freedom of imagination and social functioning. (Michal Koleček, curator of exhibition)
Everything´s Changed – Nothing´s Changed …
The year 2020 is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It all started from the end of the year with individual cases in China. In February and March, the pandemic spread uncontrollably to Europe, United States and around the whole world. Not only that the pandemic caused thousands of deaths, but it has changed the lives of many people. At the global level, everyone has experienced this, and the spread of the virus continues this autumn, leading governments to take radical steps. So far, hardly imaginable situations have arisen, and some think that our world and our relationships have changed quite radically. Nevertheless, it is still not entirely clear whether there has been a real transformation and whether we have learned social and individual lessons from the restrictive measures. It seems that a lot of things remained unchanged, but apparently our perception of the world was divided into “before Covid-19” and “after (or with) Covid-19.” Now in the fall, the pandemic is back in full strenght.
Will we survive this pandemic? And if so, how? Can we develop a new and better world under the influence of this global crisis? And if so, which one? Or will the world remain as it is and everything will just get worse with growing inequalities? What should remain and what will disappear forever?
Everything´s Changed — Nothing´s Changed …
The exhibition consists of 3 (or more) parts:
1. Hannes Egger’s video performance Everything’s changed – Nothing’s changed realized in September in Milan will be presented in gallery window.
2. The gallery brings together furniture (tables and chairs) from institutions (schools, universities, offices, theatres, exhibition halls, etc.) which are closed due to the government restrictions. The furniture will be arranged as an installation in the gallery space.
3. The residents of Ústí nad Labem (and elsewhere) will be invited to write a letter to the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts about their experience with the year 2020. The letters will be published online and displayed in the gallery space. The Gallery reserves the right not to publish such letters that do not correspond to the ethical values of the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts. Selected letters will be handed over to performative artists (actors, musicians, performers, dancers …) for further processing. The artists will translate them in their own artistic language. These interpretations will be recorded (in DIY conditions) and projected in several blocks in the gallery window. Artists will receive a fee for these activities. The letters will also serve as a source for the preparation of the author’s book — a kind of chronicle of the year 2020. As a reward for the letters, the participating viewers will receive an author’s t-shirt or a poster Everything’s Changed — Nothing’s Changed. Through these T-shirts and posters, the exhibition will expand into the public sphere and into the participants private zone — their bodies or their apartments.
The exhibition has processual character and tries to respond as flexibly as possible to a constantly changing situation. (Hannes Egger, artist)