Beyond Tomorrow at Dusseldorf’s Quadriennale

SKY LEI, Waikiki Sky Event, Kapiolani Park, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 19. September 1970, Photo Nan Rosenthal. KAI10
SKY LEI, Waikiki Sky Event, Kapiolani Park, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 19. September 1970, Photo Nan Rosenthal. KAI10

Every four years, the city of Dusseldorf becomes host to an all-encompassing fine art festival that sees many of the city’s art institutions collaborate for a week, sharing a joint theme and thus casting a net of connections leading visitors through the city. This April, to coincide with Art Cologne just a stone’s throw away, the Dusseldorf Quadriennale will probe the idea that artists, traditionally and enduringly, raise questions about culture and society that are in fact stimulating a mode of futurology – in thinking about the world of tomorrow via artistic explorations. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, professor of art history and media philosophy at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, developed the thematic concept for the art festival in conjunction with the curators involved. “This is the first time in Germany that so many institutions are joining forces to develop a common leitmotif and to venture a new approach to art mediation”, says Ullrich.

Under the title “Beyond Tomorrow” thirteen museums, exhibition venues and partner institutions will present a variety of specially curated shows from April 5-10. The festival will enable visitors to experience how stimulating it can be to think about the world of tomorrow, and all that has been done throughout cultural history for the sake of a better world. In addition, Quadriennale Dusseldorf 2014 will include the cityscape this time around, inviting visitors to embark on their own personal journey of discovery through the art city. “We want to spark visitors’ curiosity about the future and encourage them to envisage what might lie ahead in the years to come”, says Hans-Georg Lohe, Dusseldorf city councillor in charge of cultural affairs and managing director of Quadriennale Dusseldorf 2014. “Each art institution will devote itself to a special aspect of the main theme while at the same time creating substantive links to the other venues.”

Reawakening/ Earth/ Transformation/ Progress/ Experiment/ Utopia/ Heaven/ Fire/ Retreat/ Light/ Curiosity – these are the eleven concepts or points of departure interweaving the various exhibitions like a web. Some art spaces will focus on a view of the future that entails experimentation, a sense of reawakening, and transformation; other presentations will feature works by artists who saw or see the future as a place of retreat, fascinated by its darker and more ponderous aspects.

“I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988”