Ruins and (r)evolution

Gallery 2 / 7. 12. 2023 – 9. 3. 2024

Exhibitors: Ruta Putramentaite,  Gabriela BK / Connor Drew, Markéta Kinterová 
Curator: Mariana Serranová

We stand helplessly amidst the ruins of the industrial era. The persistent emphasis on increasing production, extractionism, and profit appears to be one of the main causes of the current climate crisis. After two centuries of consumptive destruction of the landscape and depletion of natural resources, we have reached a phase where rapid global solutions are necessary. The dialectic of gradual decay, radical destruction of power structures, and subsequent transformation is, in the Western Hegelian historical tradition, a variable that facilitates orientation in time. Understanding the development and periodization of history in the scale of centuries and human generations, as opposed to the anthropocenic thinking inspired by evolutionary patterns, is a tool to grasp the present, the transformative era in which we live, and anticipate its temporality within the reach of our senses and imagination.
In the prism of Romanticism, during the heyday of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, ruins represented the disintegration of empires, feudal power, and a certain nostalgia. The remnants of the industrial era and the related ruined nature have a far more complex dimension in the age of climate change. For example, the appreciation of the grandeur and melancholy of derelict brownfields and post-industrial landscapes as ruins that need to be reinterpreted essentially has a romantic dynamic.

The concept of “ruin” as an incomplete fragment, as something that has lost its meaning, is a metaphor in the project for temporality, mortality, the beginning of the end, and change. But it is also evidence of the past, a legacy we must grapple with. The work of the artists invited to participate oscillates between dystopian and constructive visions of the future or ironically reveal the “ruin” as a genre motif. The gradual collapse of the current system is seen all the more drastically as it is accompanied by explosive changes, heightened warfare, competition between economic and political structures, fossil and sustainable, imperial and democratic.