press release

Between tradition, discourse and technologies
November 15, 2019–February 16, 2020

ARTS ⇆ CRAFTS at the Kunsthaus Graz reflects the interest of contemporary artists in material, in crafting processes, in experimenting with material and techniques. In the last few years, this attention has grown noticeably. The way artists handle traditional knowledge does not isolate, rather it opens up—to other cultures, to modern and contemporary art, to current discourses and digital developments. Culture is understood as a flow of varied, interrelated influences and elements.

This exhibition asks what a fruitful dialogue between art and craft might look like and places both in a larger social context. It mediates between contemporary art, craftsmanship and new technologies, traces cultural transfers across national borders, explores intermediate areas and transition zones. The importance and appreciation of craft as an essential component of material culture, identity and community is thereby connected with social and economic conditions in a globalised world. With this approach, the artists also challenge the ways in which the homeland, people, folk culture and tradition are instrumentalised for political purposes. The works show the extent to which local identification and global developments have long since slid into one another. Moreover, they ask how, given the present economic circumstances, a "crafted" relationship between workers and the objects they work can be conceived and put into practice.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a book, designed by modern temperament (Oliver Klimpel/ Till Sperrle) and published at Verlag für Moderne Kunst, Vienna. It continues the discourse between craftsmanship and digitisation in the medium of the book. Opting for drawn work illustrations by Anne Gille and through black and white representations, the designers emphasise the abstraction of the depicted objects and the book itself, also referring to the tradition of 19th- and early 20th-century exhibition catalogues of arts and crafts.

Azra Akšamija, Olivier Guesselé-Garai, Plamen Dejanoff, Olaf Holzapfel, Antje Majewski, Jorge Pardo, Slavs and Tatars, Haegue Yang and Johannes Schweiger