«Decapitalize Humanity» presents the work of nine artists who question the value system of our consumerist, achievement-oriented society from various critical viewpoints.
The COVID19 pandemic has called old criteria of achievement and value creation chains into question, as high-performance economic sectors forfeit their capital and relevance. The fragility of the world’s societies and the interdependence of their people become visible. This situation has thrown the role of care into sharp relief, leading to a reassessment of its value. With this in mind, »decapitalize humanity« features international contemporary artists who use poetical and radical visual idioms to address questions around mechanisms of political inequality.
The artworks on show deal with existing, conventional structures, social injustices and practices that form a link between the private and the public. In spite of differences in idiom and media, ranging from photography and video to painted ceramic sculpture and immersive installation, the works all share a concern with humanity as a social value.
The exhibition title uses a neologism inspired by the widespread term «decolonize» that stands for calls to reflect on and change colonial and postcolonial relations of power and exploitation. The appeal in the exhibition title evokes the idea of ceasing to understand people as capital in the sense of productivity and performance. All of the works on show also foster discussion of an ethics of mutual care as part of our contemporary culture.
Parastou Forouhar deals in a radical and poetic manner with social perceptions of her culture. In the exhibition, the photograph from her series Das Gras ist grün, der Himmel blau und sie ist schwarz... (The grass is green, the sky is blue, and she is black...) shows an ungraspable physicality in a real place. We see an ephemeral being resembling a ghostly apparition, a being that seems to leap into the air in an unfamiliar, historically significant location. Protected from outside gazes, the apparition carries its own space with it and moves between heaven and earth. The resulting narrative offers only hints, remaining open-ended and disconcerting.