press release

Public Opening: July 24, 2007

Without an element of cruelty at the root of every spectacle, the theater is not possible. In our present state of degeneration it is through the skin that metaphysics must be made to re-enter our minds.” Antonin Artaud, Theater and its Double

The above quote is culled from Antonin Artaud's writings whose reference to the theater of cruelty is often misconstrued as synonymous with sadism. There is no doubt that Artaud's framework for a new, revolutionary theater carried with it a poetics of transgression; yet, his unique aesthetic approach to the stage with its subtext of violence was neither gratuitous nor for shock value. Rather, what he sought to attack was the inertia of a theater that expressed a lifeless art to a submissive audience and coupled together, became a complacent pairing that inadvertently supported the status quo.

Analogously, contemporary art and its public seem to be suffering from their own particular strains of political and social indifference. This acquiescence undermines contemporary art's radical potential and is one of the many points of contention that the exhibition entitled Theater of Cruelty rubs up against. The artists in the exhibition engage contemporary art’s conventions similar in spirit to Artaud’s vilification of theater’s conservatism; their intent is to jolt us from our conformity in order that we may think more critically about the world we live in. They individually approach this through diverse themes formally articulated via a plethora of media including video, painting, photography, sculpture, works-on-paper, audio-work, performance and installation.

Exhibition sponsorship received from John Jay College , Sociology; John Jay College , Anthropology; Center on Terrorism; John Jay College , Puerto Rican and Latin American Studies; CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology; Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal

Artists: Carlos Amorales (Mexico/TheNetherlands); Andisheh Avini (US); Jota Castro (Peru/Belgium); Stuart Croft (U.K.); Susana Delahante Matienzo (Cuba); Martin Durazo (U.S.); Andrea Frank (Germany/U.S.); Marcos Lopez (Argentina); Teresa Margolles (Mexico); Daniel Joseph Martínez (U.S.); Ferran Martin (Spain/U.S.); Teemu Mäki (Finland); S&P Stanikas (Lithuania/France); Kiki Seror (U.S./France); Javier Téllez (Venezuela/U.S.); Wojtek Ulrich (Poland); Vuk Vidor (Serbia/France); Roberto Visani (U.S.); Sisley Xhafa (Kosovo/US).

[VideoBox]: Oreet Ashery ( U.K. ); Kader Attia (France/Algiers)

only in german

Theater of Cruelty
Kurator: Raul Zamudio

mit Carlos Amorales, Andisheh Avini, Jota Castro, Stuart Croft, Susana Delahante Matienzo, Martin Durazo, Andrea Frank, Marcos Lopez, Teresa Margolles, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Ferran Martin, Teemu Mäki, S&P Stanikas, Kiki Seror, Javier Téllez, Wojtek Ulrich, Vuk Vidor, Roberto Visani, Sislej Xhafa, Oreet Ashery, Kader Attia