press release

The exhibition is an exploration of how contemporary artistic practices question and deconstruct the Western and metaphysical definition of political sovereignty: their new way of understanding freedom and emancipation beyond individual autonomy, as well as the modern form of the nation-state.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the last seminar conducted by Jacques Derrida in 2002-3, on the limits of political sovereignty in the metaphysical tradition. For the French philosopher, the beast and the sovereign are the two allegorical figures in politics that have traditionally stood above the law: the beast that supposedly ignores the law and the sovereign whose power is defined precisely by his capacity to uphold the law. This ontotheological division produces a series of binary oppositions of genre, class, species, sexuality, race and disability that structure the relations of dominance. On the one hand, the beast regarded as animality, nature, femininity, the South, the slave, the colonial site, the coloured subject, the abnormal. On the other, the sovereign representing the human and even superhuman, God, the State, masculinity, the North, the white and sexually normal subject. Is sovereignty possible beyond power? Can sovereignty occur by questioning these relations of dominance?

With works by Efrén Álvarez, Ángela Bonadies and Juan José Olavarría, Peggy Buth, Martin Dammann, Ines Doujak and John Barker, Juan Downey, Edgar Endress, Oier Etxeberria, León Ferrari, Eiko Grimberg, Masist Gül (presented by Banu Cennetoğlu and Philippine Hoegen), Ghasem Hajizadeh, Jan Peter Hammer, Geumhyung Jeong, Glenda León, Julia Montilla, Rabih Mroué, Ocaña, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Prabhakar Pachpute, Mary Reid Kelley, Jorge Ribalta, Hans Scheirl, Wu Tsang, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Yelena Vorobyeva and Victor Vorobyev, Sergio Zevallos.

Curators: Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler, Paul B. Preciado and Valentín Roma.

Exhibition organized and co-produced by the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and the Württembergischer Kunstverein (WKV) Stuttgart.