Thursday, 8 May 2008

LIFE ON MARS: The 55th Carnegie International

The oldest contemporary art exhibition in North America featuring artists from around the world is the Carnegie International. Established in 1896, the current and 55th exhibition sits under the title Life on Mars asking "Are we alone in the universe? Do aliens exist? Or are we, ourselves,the strangers in our own worlds?"

Here is Douglas Fogle's statement on the show:
"Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International, focuses on the increasingly relevant question of what it means to be human in the world today. Foregoing any universal answers to this question, the artists in the exhibition investigate particular aspects of the human condition, moving along paths that are both introspective and worldly while poetically traversing the dramatic spectrum from tragedy to comedy. The question, "Is there life on Mars?" is a rhetorical one, posed in the face of a world in which increasingly accelerating global events--political, social, natural, and economic--seem to challenge and threaten to overtake our most basic forms of everyday existence. Rather than a literal search for extraterrestrial intelligence, this question might be seen as a metaphorical quest to explore what it means to be human in this radically unmoored world. Moving from the micro to the macro levels of experience, the exhibition proposes to look at the multiple perspectives and myriad responses to this 21st-century dilemma from artists from all over the globe."

"Today, a concern with the question of what it means to be human can be found in contemporary art everywhere. Many of the younger artists in the exhibition have inherited a legacy that seeks to produce the momentary, the ephemeral, and the modest rather than the monumental. One sees in their work not a discredited universal humanism but a real connection to the human condition, expressed with an economy of means that is at once fragile and powerful."

"Life on Mars is a collective self-portrait of humanity colliding with the economic and political events that define daily existence. Questions of our survival are humorously and poignantly brought to the fore in films, installations, paintings, sculptures, and photographs that search for the sublime in the banality of everyday life."

The official site contains biographies for the artists participating as well as samples from their contribution to this year's event. For those in the vicinity of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, USA, visitor information is available HERE.

Life on Mars: Carnegie International
Carnegie Museum of Art
Frieze - Douglas Fogle interview
Arts Journal/Modern Art Notes Q&A with Douglas Fogle

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