intermedial exhibition project by the hgb // 30.01. - 13.02.2009

Press announcement

"Evil" is the subject of the Class of Intermedia's current project which evolved over the past two years under the guidance of professor Alba D'Urbano and Franz Alken in collaboration with curator Angelika Richter. The resulting exhibition "Das Böse ist ein Eichhörnchen" [literally "The Evil is a squirrel", derived from the German saying "The devil is a squirrel", meaning "Do not underestimate the devil" or, in this case, evil] shows works by students as well as guest artists.

The curators of the project approached the subject by assuming that the examination of the phenomenon of evil is of incessant topicality: political key terms like power and force are negotiated under it as are individual and personal defining contexts. The project does not, however, attempt to disambiguate "evil".

In social history and politics, in mythology and art, attributions of this term are subject to constant alterations of exploitation and orchestration. As a normative term, especially in ethics and Christian religion, "evil" always appears as universal and negative. The history of "evil" is therefore mainly a history of polarization and taboo, within ethically discursive approaches. The projection onto the "other" manifests itself primarily in the construction of the concept of an enemy. The development of civilization is linked closely to war, death, guilt, and moral responsibility. The media, pop culture, and entertainment constitute themselves through the representation and alleged invincibility of violence. The media especially make daily use of more or less obvious references to images of violence and crime.

For several years due partly to the recuperation of religious interests on a global level the concept of "evil" has also been experiencing a renaissance in politics. Complex issues are simplified using the resulting terminology, opinions polarized. Finally, the political catchphrase "the axis of evil" demonstrates how much "evil" - and, consequently, "good" - is subject to cultural and historical relativization: terrorists can simultaneously be freedom fighters, statesmen are termed as devils elsewhere, civil rights activists become criminals. "Good" and "evil" are opposite ends of a dualistic system, they are relative and based on cultural and social regimes that standardize human behaviour. But besides all attempts at containing and domesticating "evil",a fascination emanates from this phenomenon.

"Das Böse ist ein Eichhörnchen" closes in on this fascinating ambivalence of evil and investigates the small private evil as well as public issues concerning contemporary political events. The exhibition is located within the district court house, a place which is closely linked to the theme of the project, and takes place alongside the everyday business at the court house so the works place themselves outside a mere art context, within the controversy of this functional place of dispensation of justice.

Within the long corridors of the court house, works are shown which cover the spectrum of various media, including performances inside the building and outdoors, video, sculpture, and painting.