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"Exorcism/Aesthetic Terrorism"
2000-06-10 until 2000-09-03
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Rotterdam, , NL Netherlands

Exorcism is the last 'ism' in the visual arts of the twentieth century: not a coherent movement, but rather a powerful explosion marking the breakthrough to the new millennium. The artists involved exorcise their own frustrations, fears and anger, or try to tame the wild world. In so doing, the ends justify the means. Exorcism = Aesthetic Terrorism.

Exorcism/Aesthetic Terrorism is an international manifestation of contemporary art, organised by the Rotterdam City Collection. It comprises a group exhibition, a catalogue and a poster presentation and encompasses the expansion of Rotterdam artists in competition with the work of colleagues world-wide. The trial of strength of these kindred spirits is transformed into a concentration of strength: a shared seizure of power that is as exciting as it is terrifying, leading the public along like moths to the flame. With the voluptuous cadavers of Karin Arink, the caged nightmares of Louise Bourgeois and the Fresh Human Hairballs of Aloysius Donia, the arms of Atelier Van Lieshout, the tanned warriors of Matthew Monahan, the raw women of Charlotte Schleiffert, the wicked fairy of Pipilotti Rist and the hellish supplications that Bruce Nauman hurls at visitors in a deafening audiovisual spectacle, the exhibition establishes an aesthetic reign of terror that nevertheless revives the public with a burst of horrified laughter.

In addition to being an inebriated diversion, Exorcism/Aesthetic Terrorism is a sincere protest against deterioration, adversity and disaster in a society that pretends to be ruled by reason. The participants do not settle for this sweet peace. They attempt to reverse the hell on earth by taking control - passionate and unafraid of the devil. It is a conspiracy of artists who either exorcise or, alternately, entreat evil; who either drive out or invoke evil spirits. It is hard to escape this ambiguity: to strangle the devil, one has to look him in the face.

Both renowned and relatively unknown artists are featured in the exhibition. Eylem Aladogan, Marlene Dumas, Jeroen Eisin-ga, Jeroen Jonge-leen, Erik van Lieshout, Tony Oursler and Thomas Schütte join ranks with Arink, Bourgeois, Donia, Atelier Van Lieshout, Monahan, Schleiffert, Rist and Nauman. This manifestation is accompanied by a catalogue, a joint effort by the City Collection, the Boijmans Museum and NAi-publishers, which includes an introduction by curator Wilma Sütö. Exorcism/Aest-hetic Terrorism is the first exhibition mounted by Sütö as City Collection curator. The book's design has been entrusted to the design group 75b, which in conjunction with the exhibition will also be presenting a poster display on the enormous construction site fence in front of the Boijmans Van Beu-ningen Museum.


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