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... but it could be ...
Exhibition of the artist members
Württembergischer Kunstverein | 70173 Stuttgart | Schlossplatz 2
Aug 24 through Sep 22, 2019

Fabricius: Portrait-Blüten, 2017
contribution to the show


If there is a sense of reality, there must also be a sense of possibility..
Robert Musil, Man without Character, 1930

Around half of all members of the Württembergischer Kunstverein are artists. Against this background, the WKV - as one of the few art associations - organizes exhibitions of the artists' members every two years. The show is not subject to a jury selection, but is only bound to a given theme.

Nothing, what is or was, is necessarily like it is or was. It could also be (have been) completely different. Based on these considerations, this year's member exhibition will take place from August 24 to September 22, 2019 with around 300 participants and aims at an artistic negotiation of the subjunctive "but could still be".

The reading of the present manifests itself in the writing of history, which in its selection and focus usually plays to an ideological system. In this context, it is possible for art to design alternative models of the world in an ironic, political but also activist way, in which the past can be reinvented as a possibility. This sense of possibility tears a gap in the present that is as creative as it is critical, a gap that at the same time couples the past with the future, that is, with a future of which we cannot yet know anything.

In this context, reference should be made to the young generation, which, as older people often say, allegedly lacks life experience and thus farsightedness. What these young people are currently demanding and demanding back is a future that is currently being taken away from them. They accuse a generation that, despite or because of its critical thinking, has become accustomed and adapted to those economic, industrial, military and political conditions that are capable of completely destroying any future basis for life. The sense of possibility that strikes us, thanks to this uprising and in view of the past European elections, aims at the break with the seemingly factual and at the demand to "think everything that could be just as good and not to take what is more important than what is not.

The broad spectrum of works, ranging from painting, photography, installation and video to performances, reflects the diversity of the approximately 300 participants, who have created works especially for Könnte aber doch. In a broadly conceived supporting program, numerous readings, lectures, performances, and lecture-performances by the artist members will take place on the opening weekend and throughout the duration of the exhibition.

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Members' exhibition at the Kunstverein Uprising of Possibilities
The Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart
presents the annual exhibition of its members
under the motto "Could but Still.
The selection is convincing.
By Julia Lutzeyer
Stuttgarter Zeitung | August 25, 2019

In a world of supposed fake news and positions without alternatives that are unalterably opposed to each other, the artists of the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart agreed on the theme "Could but still". This is the title of their members' exhibition, which opened on Friday in the Vierecksaal of the Kunstgebäude, takes place every two years and is deliberately uncurated - as a commitment to the diversity of artistic positions and as a counterbalance to the set-pieces of the directors Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ, as the latter himself admitted.

Christ let himself be connected from Bergen, Norway, and revealed that the phrase "But could" was taken from a video by Alexander Kluge. About two years ago, it was a memorable contribution to the "Gardens of Cooperation" exhibition. In it, a chamber singer insists that a tragic opera could ultimately take a different turn at every performance.

Consciously there is no curator

Around 300 participating artists are now tracing this sense of possibility in works created especially for the occasion or already created, whose colorful mixture at first glance is reminiscent of the qualitatively all too heterogeneous offerings of an art bazaar. But then it is precisely the synopsis that turns out to be a stimulating combination that creates a network of references and awakens associations of its own. There is a group on garbage, cosmic and typographic alliances, reflections on helping in need, contributions on migration, and even an erotic corner. The possibilities, they condense into a revolt against the impositions of current world events.

Whether succinct or complex, here every artistic contribution - whether painting, graphics, photography, sculpture, video, installation or text - is in the best of company. It is fun to fathom and continue to spin these environmental contexts created with the hanging, which in turn can be read as creative contributions. Precisely because they are never completed, but give space to the aforementioned sense of possibility.

The concept works

This principle of linking content is also successful because an astonishing number of artists work representationally and conceptually. But one should not be deceived by the seemingly traditional. Karen Bayer's carved wooden heads, for example, bear QR codes that link you to animated films and thus take you into the digital realm. Jan-Hendrik Pelz's oil painting "Help with the Shirt," dated 1938, also sets a false trail in the Kunstverein with two young men in Nazi garb. At first glance, the figures may seem like Napola offspring, but their gestures are lovingly intimate and even bring a pacifist, and moreover homoerotic, attitude to the pseudo-historical action. Thus the historical is overwritten in the style of the new objectivity. Quite a few works make the title of the exhibition their own. For example, an interactive installation by Patricia Otte that allows visitors to leave notes and help shape the work. It is astonishing how few artists take advantage of this possibility. The presentation, however, is not without consequences for the work in question. It can hardly be thought of on its own anymore.