All that is solid melts into air: The social at the Berardo Collection

All that is solid melts into air: The social at the Berardo Collection
Temporary exhibition
08/06/2010
- 12/09/2010
Floor: 
-1
Curator: 
Miguel Amado
All that is solid melts into air: The social at the Berardo Collection
Temporary exhibition
08/06/2010
- 12/09/2010
Floor: 
-1
Curator: 
Miguel Amado
Body: 

‘All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.’ This excerpt from the Manifesto of the Communist Party, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848, reflects the revolutionary character of modern capitalism that transformed Europe in the mid-eighteenth century. Marx and Engels’ observation therefore recalls a sense of change in society, a process which involves one symbolic regime being replaced by another. As a matter of fact, this is insinuated at the beginning of the sentence, whose suggestive scientific metaphor oversteps the boundaries of political discourse to reach into other intellectual milieus. This fact is made clear, for example, in Marshall Berman’s book All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity (1982), whose title cites the English translation of Marx and Engels' words and which, as the subtitle suggests, explores the experience of modernity, the laboratory of our times.

All That is Solid Melts into Air: the Social in the Berardo Collection is an exhibition whose underlying principle is based on the same strategy. It derives its inspiration from Marx and Engels’ words in order to reflect on the rebirth of the primacy of the social in art, the condition that governs its existence as an instrument of emancipation for humankind. In the wake of research carried out by scholars such as Hal Foster, the ‘aesthetics of recession’ made apparent by the present global financial crisis, which a decade marked by the "precarious condition" had already foretold, has drawn attention to the socially committed practices characteristic of modern and contemporary art which had hitherto been banished from mainstream artistic institutions. It is through these lenses that another display of the Berardo Collection has been developed. Balanced between the utopian visions of the modernist avant-gardes and the post-fall of the Berlin Wall ideology of ‘protest and survival’, the works selected from this holding, together with others that have been borrowed from several artists, raise questions concerning everyday life that enunciate a critique of the real.

Miguel Amado, Curator