Surveying Decadence

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 28, 2009

Exhibitions that trace broad themes back to the eighteenth century can be both instructive and delightful. I’m thinking, for instance, of the show, Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730-2008.

I have my doubts that the following exhibition on Decadence, now on view at the Dunkers Kulturhus in Sweden, lives up to such high standards, but it’s perhaps notable all the same. I apologize for the feeble translation. Since I was unable to find a description in English, I simply plugged the Swedish into Google’s translator. I was surprised the text came out as sensible as it did, though it’s still humorously rough. Indeed, it struck me as consistent with the apparently playful spirit of the show. -CAH

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Decadence: A Rake’s Progress
Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg, Sweeden, 31 October 2009 — 28 February 2010

Rake302The word Decadence tickle in your mouth and into the tank. But what does it actually mean? Is that all you want but do not dare? Is it leather, whips and sex? Is it a luxury, pearls and swine? There are probably as many preliminary proposals as people.

Dekadens is also the title of one of Dunkers Kulthurhus’s major autumn exhibitions. It has its origin in a picture story of William Hogarth from the 1700s London, A Rake’s Progress. We follow a young heir by sudden wealth, betrayal, gambling, women, poverty, betrayal again, new wealth, drugs, prison, insane asylum and death. A story that tells positions. Which way of life should we choose? The security of challenging the faithful or shameless? Sometimes one or the other but never both at once.

This story has inspired many artists through the ages, as Igor Stravinsky, Ingmar Bergman, David Hockney and Paula Rego. They are all in Dekadens as well as a few of our most interesting young artists: Nathalie Djurberg and Jockum Nordstrom. They are involved with new works created for the exhibition. Cartoonist Gunnar Krantz gives his version of The Rake’s Progress and let the center be moved from London to Yuppie Future Stureplan in Stockholm. Decadence are everywhere and anytime.

Exhibition form breathable rubber, tar and rose petals. We will find the place we never knew of and that will always occupy our minds. Jonas Lindvall has designed an exhibition that is impregnated by everything from the asceticism of pomp! Welcome to the challenges posed maze!

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