curated by_Adam Budak
Galerie Kerstin Engholm Galerie
EAST: EXCITABLE SPEECH: WEST
Kidnapping the East may be a necessary if post-Romantic desire, but also a desperate urge to rethink the politics of difference and division within the trans-European context. Emancipatory in itself, „excitable speech“ refers to the liminal areas of the Caucasus and Eurasia, mapping a no-between zone of phantasmagorias, fictive narratives and dubious facts where history appears as a possibility, a filiation, an exercise. Here, the East-West encounter is articulated as a performative and relational act – a mistranslation of sorts – where language and rhetoric are considered subversive elements in the economies if not-politics of post-imperial conquest and heroic resistance. Oscillating between „once upon a time in the east“ and the topos of the East as a „non-location“, follows Judith Butler’s take on marginal subversion and an ethics of alterity and undermines the spatial and temporal paradigm of European stereotypes. An accumulation of Eastern folk knowledge and its transnational imagination, the 13th century satirical sufi figure of Molla Nasreddin acts as an inspiration and guide through the vocabularies of concrete, historical, but also fictitious and phantom-like, mystic libraries of the past and contemporary political realities. A wise fool, Molla appears as a witty agent of progressive thinking, a provider of kidnapping strategies in a hectic postcolonial traffic between East and West, highly relevant to today’s discourses on national belonging, religious and cultural identity, linguistic complexity and social gestalt. The alphabet of „excitable speech“ is a mélange of legend and folk, tradition and a pop culture, deciphered by the artist-cum-kidnapper and staged by the necessarily performative vehicles of appropriation and critique.
Slavs and Tatars
Adam Budak *1966 in Jaworzno, Polen, lebt und arbeitet in Graz und Krakau.
Kerstin Engholm Galerie
Schleifmühlgasse 3 • 1040 Vienna • Austria