Alessandro Bostelmann, Andreana Dobreva, Sebastian Gallschütz, Sebastian Maas, Tom Messavilla, Tibor Pogonyi, Eunji Seo, Yuhao Chen
Fear – a fascination. On the one hand, it can wreck us, on the other, it can give us immense pleasure in a class of its own, for example in something thrilling. Being aware of the enormous impact of fear, the mighty and the gods have always used it as an effective means of developing and retaining power. “Oderint dum metuant” (let them hate me, so long as they fear me) was a favorite saying of the Roman emperor Caligula (12–41 AD), who was notorious for his tyranny. Panic was spread by the – otherwise so convivial – god of shepherds and huntsmen, Pan, as soon as anyone dared to disturb his afternoon nap. He spread it among the sheep, for example, who had woken him up with their bleating, this panic which is named for him. But once they had become afraid, not even Pan himself succeeded in calming the sheep again and releasing them from their fear. Fear is powerful per se. Whoever evokes it, cannot reverse it easily and can rest assured that they may never again be able to gain control over it.
When we “ordinary mortals” experience fear, it befalls us and does not release its hold on us too quickly. To free ourselves from its clutches, we try to reflect on it with due distance, objectify it, define it and categorize it. Yet, as much as we attempt to normalize the extraordinary, we are never completely able to do this. What is more, current efforts seem to be going in exactly the opposite direction – fear appears to be booming (again). We cultivate, celebrate and instrumentalize it more than ever. It is obvious that the awareness of our era is not insignificantly characterized by the knowledge of the dangers from which we are constantly under threat: damage to the environment on an apocalyptic scale, religious fanaticism, drugs, terror, violence, economic crises and privacy risks. There is already talk of a renewed “age of fear”, like that proclaimed in the middle of the last century – in light of the Cold War and the nuclear threat that came with it.
Reason enough to approach the phenomenon of fear in its omnipresence from various different perspectives. HELDENREIZER undertook an experiment and brought together for several days eight selected young artists and representatives of art history, musicology and philosophy in the Abbey of Weltenburg. In presentations, discussions and conversations, they explored in depth the levels, dimensions and mechanisms of fear and its role within the arts. The exhibition ANGST, comprising works from artists Alessandro Bostelmann, Andreana Dobreva, Sebastian Gallschütz, Sebastian Maas, Tom Messavilla, Tibor Pogonyi, Eunji Seo and Chen Yuhao, is a direct response to this singular event and the insights gained from it. However, those who are expecting an exhibition that gives them the shivers, will be disappointed. Instead, it is the subtle facets of fear that are revealed in the exhibited works, its intrinsic indeterminacy and ambivalence. Fear, so it seems, becomes an esthetic category of its own in these remarkable works.
Preview takes place Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 6pm to 9.30pm, Westermühlstr. 3, Munich.