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Europe: Ancient Future
Jimmie Durham, Haris Epaminonda, Ira Goryainova, Renée Green, Franz Kapfer, Barbara Kapusta, Jutta Koether, Oliver Laric, Shahryar Nashat, Steven Parrino, Franco Vaccari, James Welling, Franz West


Online-Guide to the exhibition Europe: Ancient Future →

Everyone talks about (and far too often against) Europe, and even a common Europe is only slowly getting off the ground. The particular interests of the nation states, bureaucracy and the economy are too deeply entrenched, reflecting the attachment of many to what is immediately familiar. The future, however, can only lie in an open, cosmopolitan approach, with a good relationship between each individual and the local as well as the international community. This critical balance of the individual to the group was already outlined by ancient Greece in order to strengthen democracy on the basis of individual and general freedoms and responsibilities. From a history conceived into the future, the extensive project Europe: Ancient Future formulates current contributions to an urgently needed discussion on egality in difference, in order to advance a culturally and therein politically conceived Europe.


Europe: Ancient Future, 2021

Exhibition view

Photo: kunst​-doku​men​ta​ti​on​.com

Europe: Ancient Future, 2021

Exhibition view

Photo: kunst​-doku​men​ta​ti​on​.com

Europe: Ancient Future, 2021

Exhibition view

Photo: kunst​-doku​men​ta​ti​on​.com

Europe: Ancient Future, 2021

Exhibition architecture

Photo: kunst​-doku​men​ta​ti​on​.com


Etymologically, Europe” derives from the ancient Greek Eurṓpē” meaning she with the wide gaze.” In Greek mythology, a Phoenician princess of that name was abducted and seduced by Zeus. The HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark has made Europe the center of its reflections for its launch as an institution. The inaugural exhibition, Europe: Ancient Future, unites selected ideas on the concept of Europe and sheds light on them from multiple perspectives beyond the common pragmatic criteria.

For a long time now, the European Union, which is primarily seen as an economic and political association of nation-states, has been criticized for its shortcomings, predominantly in its practice of democracy. The stated based on the rule of law, and insufficient transparency with regard to fundamental issues of power. What is increasingly overlooked, however, is the origins of the idea of Europe, which can be discovered within the field of culture. This perspective seems all the more important during a time in which nationalism and populism have regained strength, putting pressure on the European Union from individual member states.

For this reason, the common focus of the artists featured in Europe: Ancient Future, is the history of ideas.” The myths, values, and breaches of a — now rather guardedly — united Europe, which is studied beyond its economic and political developments and contextualized within the history of culture, allows for a more positive and at times utopian potential. The exhibition rejects a Eurocentric reception and forces us to thematize and broaden the usual and often restricted gaze, in order to revive and intensify the conversation about and for Europe with a critical emphasis.

The extensive oeuvre of the Greek polymath Aristotle offers an important impulse for this show’s efforts to come to terms with the fundamental philosophical pillars of the European ideal. His egalitarian approach to society, which does not neglect the autonomy of the individual, has recently begun to receive new attention: In her Politische Gleichheit (Political Equality) (2020), a reception of the concept of equality free of domination, the political philosopher Danielle Allen calls for an updated version of democracy, a balanced coexistence of individuals in a society that transcends the idea of a nation-state. Moreover, the beginnings of an idea of Europe, points back to the early democracies of Greek antiquity and its consequences.

Against this backdrop, Europe: Ancient Future addresses the utopias of the past and, taking up ancient and in part mythological ideas about the understanding of Europe, sketching out possibilities for a more positive future.

The exhibition is thus conceived as a thought experiment about transnational community life in the European realm and seeks to develop another attractive idea of a united Europe with cultural diversity that, in the spirit of its original meaning as she with the wide gaze,” looks ahead confidently and circumspectly.

The exhibition project Europe: Ancient Future will be accompanied by a weekly program of supporting and educational events and an extensive publication.

Curated by Sandro Droschl


Participating artists

Jimmie Durham

*1940 Washington, lives in Berlin

has exhibited in solo shows at Fidelidade Arte, Lisbon; Culturgest, Porto; the d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne / Rhône-Alpes; the Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milan; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; the Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome; the Museo Querini Stampalia, Venice; the Serpentine Gallery, London; Parasol Unit, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Vigo; the Visual Arts Foundation Middleburg; the Bari Teatro Margherita, Bari; the Fundazione Morra Greco, Athens; and the Palazzo Reale, Napoli.

Works by Durham have also been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Antwerp; Kunsthalle Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Montpellier Contemporain, Montpellier; the 58th Venice Biennial, Venice; the Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome; the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (MADRE), Madrid; the Villa Medici – Académie de France à Rome, Rome; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the 6th Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, Moscow; and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.

Haris Epaminonda

*1980 Cyprus, lives in Berlin

has shown her work in selected solo exhibitions at Fabra i Coats, Barcelona; Secession, Vienna; Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; CAAC, Seville; Le Plateau, Paris; Villa du Parc, Annemasse; Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, among others; Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich; Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe; MoMA, New York; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Tate Modern, London; Site Gallery, Sheffield; Malmö Konsthall, Malmö and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. Epaminonda represented Cyprus at the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007.

Group exhibitions have included Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; 58. Venice Biennale, Venice; Werkleitz, Dessau; Archaeological Museum, Mykonos; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; Fondation Hippocrene, Paris; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Madre Museum, Naples; Jewish Museum, New York; documenta (14), Kassel; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Leopold-Hoesch Museum & Paper Museum, Düren; National Gallery, Prague; Museum Serralves, Porto; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; 2013, dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St Louis; New Museum, New York; 9th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah; 5th Berlin Biennial, Berlin.

She received the Silver Lion at the 58th Venice Biennial 2019, the Audience Award at the National Gallery Prize for Young Art Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin 2013 and the SB9 Award at the 9th Sharjah Biennial, 2009.

Ira Goryainova

*1984 Moscow, lives in Brussels

is a Russian born filmmaker who currently lives in Brussels, where she is a PhD candidate at The Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema & Sound RITCS and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Working with found footage from broadcasting, the internet and archival material the artist conceives poetic yet critical works, in which she is questioning humanity and showing its vulnerability.

Goryainova has taken part in various international film festivals such as RIDM Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, Montréal; Imagine Science Film Festival, New York; Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Thessaloniki; und IDFA International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam, a.o.

Renée Green

*1959 Cleveland, lives in Cambridge

has exhibited her work in selected solo shows at Galería Visor, Valencia; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, Lausanne; Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris; Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin; Einstein Spaces, Berlin; Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Green has been in group exhibitions at Museum Ludwig, Cologne; IG Bildende Kunst, Vienna; Kunsthaus Graz, Graz; Manifesta 7 Trentino – Alto Adige 2008, Trentino; Foundation Manifesta, South Tyrol; Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Documenta XI, Kassel; the Haus der Kunst, Munich; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Barcelona Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Secession, Vienna; the MOCA, Los Angeles; the Bronx Museum of Art, New York; the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; and the Louisiana Museum of Art, Copenhagen.

Franz Kapfer

*1971 Fürstenfeld, lives in Vienna

solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Europäisches Forum Alpbach; Museum Hartberg, Hartberg; GPLcontemporary, Vienna; Kunstpavillon Innsbruck, Innsbruck; Belvedere, Vienna; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Wörlen, Passau; Stift Neuberg an der Mürz; and Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, among others.

Kapfer is a participant in the 5th Gherdëina Biennale, Ortisei, 2016; the Kiev Biennale, Kiev, 2015; the Busan Biennale, Busan 2012; and, as part of Franz West Extroversion, the 54th Biennale di Venezia, Venice 2011. He participated in international residencies at, among others Moscow 2022; Jerusalem 2021; Istanbul 2018; Mexico-City 2014; Paris 2011; Tirana 2008; Rome 2003.

Barbara Kapusta

*1983 Vienna, lives in Vienna

uses as a central, recurring element in her practice the connection of the body with materiality and language.

Her objects, films, performances, and text-based works have been shown most recently at Gianni Manhattan, Vienna; ACF London, London; Kunstraum London, London; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Vis Hamburg, Hamburg; Ashley Berlin, Berlin; KUP, Athens; 21er Haus Vienna, Vienna; Beautiful Gallery, Chicago; and the mumok cinema, Vienna, among others.

Her most recent publication, Dangerous Bodies, is forthcoming in 2019 from Gianni Manhattan Vienna and Motto Books, Lausanne, Berlin.

Jutta Koether

*1958 Cologne, lives in Hamburg, Berlin and New York

has exhibited in solo shows at the Museum Brandhorst, Munich; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Bortolami, New York; Campoli Presti, Paris; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin; 10th Annual Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich and Arnolfini, Bristol, among others.

Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Hessel Museum, Bard College, New York; Galería Moisés Pérez de Albéniz, Madrid; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; mumok, Vienna; SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art and VOX – Centre de l’image contemporaine, Montréal; the Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the New Museum, New York; the Campoli Presti, Paris; the Tate Modern, London; and the São Paulo Biennial 2012, at the São Paulo Museum of Art.

Oliver Laric

*1981 Innsbruck, lives in Berlin

has shown in solo exhibitions at S.M.A.K Gent, Gent; at OCAT Shanghai, Shanghai; Pedro Cera, Lisbon; Forum Arte Braga, Braga; Gallery 301, the St. Louis Art Museum, St Louis; at Braunschweiger Kunstverein, Braunschweig; with Tanya Leighton, Berlin; Metro Pictures, New York; at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; at Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah; at Tramway, Glasgow; at Secession, Vienna; with Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo; at CCA Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv; at the Austrian Cultural Forum, London; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC.

His work has been included in group exhibitions such as the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn; Galeria Duarte Sequeira, Braga; 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, Sao Paulo; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Busan Biennale, Busan; and ICA Boston, Boston.

Shahryar Nashat

*1975 Geneva, lives in Los Angeles

has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Swiss Institute, New York; SMK, the National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen; the Rodeo Gallery, Athens; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel; the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Studio Voltaire, London; and Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg, among others.

His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; The Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow; the Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg; at the Biennale de Montréal, Montréal; the Biennial of Sydney, Sydney; the Haus der Kunst, Munich, Munich; the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; the 8th Berlin Biennial, Berlin; the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; and the Detroit Museum of Art, Detroit.

Steven Parrino

*1958 New York, †2005 in New York

has had solo exhibitions amongst others at The Power Station, Dallas; Gagosian Gallery, Paris; at Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva; the Team Gallery New York; Milano Gallery Jean Brolly, Paris; Circuit, Lausanne; the Grazer Kunstverein, Graz; and Massimo de Carlo Arte Contemporanea, Milan.

His works were shown in group exhibitions at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; at FRAC Bourgogne, Dijon; at MAC Lyon, Lyon; at Marlborough Gallery Chelsea, New York; Art & Public, Geneva; the Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco; the Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; Lyon Biennale, Lyon; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen; Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo; at the Museum Fridericianum, Kassel; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and at Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne.

Franco Vaccari

*1936 Modena, lives in Modena

has shown his work in solo exhibitions at the Fondazione Marconi, Milano; the Bergamo Film Meeting, Bergamo; the Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples; the Madre – Museo d’Arte Donna Regina, Naples; in BASE, Florence; at the Mostyn Museum, Llandudno; at the Palazzo dei Pio, Carpi Modena; at the Fondazione Giorgio Marconi, Milano; at the Gwanju Biennale, Gwanju; at the Galeria Mazzoli, Modena; with the Galeria Michela Rizzo, Venice; at the Museo Cantonale d’Arte Lugano; at the XLV Biennale di Venezia, Venice; and the Museum Moderner Kunst Wien, Vienna.

His work has been included in group exhibitions at Konsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Museo Fortuny, Venice; Museo Bilotti, Rome; Monnaie de Paris, Paris; Galleria P420, Bologna; Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia; Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju; at Kunsthalle Basel, Basel; Prague Biennale 4, Prague; Neue Galerie, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz; XIV Quadriennale di Roma, Rome; XLVI Biennale di Venezia, Venice; and Taiwan Museum of Art, Taiwan.

James Welling

*1951 Hartford, lives in Los Angeles

has shown his work in solo exhibitions at the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York; the Regen Projects, Los Angeles; the Portland Museum of Art, Portland; the Tate Modern, London; Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna; at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent; with the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; at the Donals Young Gallery, Chicago; with the Barbara Gross Gallery, Munich; and the Camden Arts Center, London.

His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Getty Center, Los Angeles; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; at the Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; at the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Bourgogne, Dijon; at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg; at the Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen; at the Kunsthalle Basel, Basel; at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and at the Whitney Biennial, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Franz West

*1947 Vienna, †2012 in Vienna

has shown his work in solo exhibitions at Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; 21er Haus, Vienna; National Gallery, Prague; Oberes Belvedere, Vienna; Mumok, Vienna; Belvedere 21, Vienna; Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; at the Madre Napoli, Naples at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; at the Museo Rufino Tomayo, Mexico City; at the MAK Vienna; at the Place Vendôme, Paris; at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz; at the Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin; at the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and at the 44. Biennale di Venezia, Venice.

Works by the artist were shown in group exhibitions at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels; the Kunsthaus Graz, Graz; at the 57. Biennale di Venezia, Venice; at 21er Haus, Vienna; at Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel; at Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; at Liverpool Biennial 2010, Liverpool; at MoMA, New York; at the Royal Academy of Arts, London; at documenta X, Kassel; at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; and at Serpentine Gallery, London.



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