Lidwien Van de Ven
Imagining the (Im)Possible. Work by 19 artists from Turkey to the British Isles
The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida presents Project Europa: Imagining
the (Im)Possible, opening Feb. 7, 2010. Project Europa considers the relationship of art to democracy in Europe. In 1989,
the expansion and unification of Europe was conceived as a vital and urgent social project to promote democracy. Now,
20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, artists in the exhibition explore the conflicts and contradictions of Europe’s
"This exhibition will provide an opportunity for Americans to reconsider and reinvigorate their understanding of democracy at home," said Rebecca Nagy, director of the Harn Museum of Art. "Project Europa and our related programming support our goal to promote meaningful dialogue about global issues and ideas."
Through the lens of international artists, Project Europa challenges the collective vision of Europe. While Europe embodies the notions of democracy, human rights, peace and diversity, it has also given rise to xenophobia, racism, religious intolerance, and, especially after 9/11, heightened security and the hardening of immigration policies. Artists serve as a catalyst for new ways of seeing, thinking and imagining Europe.
"Working in diverse media, artists in the exhibition come from a rich variety of perspectives and cultural positions," said Kerry Oliver- Smith, curator of contemporary art and organizer of the exhibition. "Especially exciting is the residency of artists Kader Attia and Dan Perjovschi who have been commissioned to create large-scale paintings applied fresco style directly to the walls of the museum." Project Europa will feature work by 19 artists from Turkey to the British Isles. Featured artists include Francis Alÿs, Fikret Atay, Kader Attia, Maja Bajević, Yto Barrada, Tacita Dean, Beate Gütschow, Jens Haaning, Susan Hefuna, Eva Leitolf, Aernout Mik, Marcel Odenbach, Dan Perjovschi, Marjetica Potrč, Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, Bruno Serralongue, Superflex and Lidwien Van de Ven.
The museum is developing a variety of programs related to the exhibition, including a symposium scheduled for April 9 – 10, 2010. The symposium will include presentations by François Cusset, Alex Alberro, Nora Alter, Claire Bishop, T.J. Demos, Tim Griffin, Maria Hlavajova and Shepherd Steiner. A presentation of avant-garde European films, including works by visiting filmmakers Amie Siegel and Johan Grimonprez, is planned for the spring 2010 season of RISK Cinema.
Project Europa will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue written by Oliver-Smith with contributions by Marius Babias, curator, art historian and director of the Neurer Berliner Kunstyerein, and Boris Groys, professor of aesthetics, art history and media theory at the Center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany. The fully-illustrated, color publication will be available for purchase at the Harn Museum Store.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awarded a $100,000 grant to the museum to support the exhibition. It is one of the largest grants awarded by a private foundation for an exhibition at the Harn Museum of Art.
The exhibition is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the C. Frederick and Aase B. Thompson Foundation; Étant donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, a program of the French-American Cultural Exchange; University of Florida Student Government; the John Early Publication Endowment; the Sidney Knight Endowment; and the Harn Program Endowment. Additional support is provided by the following University of Florida entities: School of Art + Art History; Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History; Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere; Center for European Studies; France Florida Research Institute; International Center; and Paris Research Institute. Additional funding provided by the Exhibition Circle of the Harn Museum.
Image: Susan Hefuna, 2006, Wood and ink 55.12 x 78.74 in. (140 x 200 cm). Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line Gallery, Dubai
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The Harn Museum, at Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road in Gainesville, Fla., is part of the University of Florida’s Cultural Plaza, which is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m.
Sunday. The museum is open until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of every month for Museum Nights.
Admission is free.