Modernologies. MACBA

MODERNOLOGIES at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona: opening on 22 Sep. 2009, until 17 Jan. 2010



Contemporary Artists Researching Modernity and Modernism

23 September 2009 until 17 January 2010

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – MACBA

Curated by Sabine Breitwieser


Anna Artaker, Alice Creischer/Andreas Siekmann, Domènec, Katja Eydel, Ângela Ferreira, Andrea Fraser, Isa Genzken, Dan Graham and Robin Hurst, Tom Holert with Claudia Honecker, Marine Hugonnier, IRWIN, Runa Islam, Klub Zwei (Simone Bader/Jo Schmeiser), John Knight, Labor k3000 (Peter Spillmann/Michael Vögeli/Marion von Osten), Louise Lawler, David Maljkovic, Dorit Margreiter, Gordon?Matta Clark, Gustav Metzger, Christian Philipp Müller, Henrik Olesen, Paulina Olowska, Falke Pisano, Mathias Poledna, Florian Pumhösl, Martha Rosler, Armando Andrade Tudela, Marion von Osten, Stephen Willats, Christopher Williams.


What has prompted contemporary artists to investigate modernity and modernism over the course of the past decades? Modernologies sets out to explore artistic responses to modernity as a socio?political movement aspiring to cultivate a universal language.

Diverging conceptions of modernity and postcolonial studies have led to the notion of ‘multiple modernities’.

Against this backdrop, this exhibition advocates neither a ‘new formalism’ nor a ‘return to abstraction’. Its aim is neither to discover hitherto unknown or largely forgotten currents of modernism. On the contrary, it fundamentally challenges the conditions, constraints, and consequences of modernity, exposes ambivalences, attempts to develop new readings of the rhetoric of modernity and the concomitant grammar of modernism.

A younger generation of artists is increasingly addressing the legacy of modernity and modernism and the failure of the utopia associated with these terms. What are these artists’ relationship to the promises and formal languages of modernity? How can this historical era even be critically reflected in and be subjected to a re?evaluation?

Modernologies unfolds a cartography of alternative viewpoints and narratives, lines of conflicts and unresolved contradictions. More than one hundred works and projects by more than thirty artists and collectives establish a new ‘mapping of the critique of modernity’.

In the accompanying publication an additional layer is added through comprehensive essays exploring the ideology of aesthetic modernity and delving into interrelationships between modernity and coloniality.


Essays by

Sabine Breitwieser (editor)

Cornelia Klinger

Walter D. Mignolo

Artists’ statements generated by André Rottmann and texts by various authors, including Inke Arns, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Sabeth Buchmann, Barbara Clausen, Helmut Draxler, Jordi Font Agulló, Matthias Michalka, Juliane Rebentisch, Anne Rorimer, Gertrud Sandqvist, Kerstin Stakemeier, among others.