In cooperation with Casino Luxembourg - Forum d´Art Contemporain
Curators: Zoran Eric, Maria Lind, Enrico Lunghi
mixed media
20.03. - 03.05.09


what s on

past exhibitions




The exhibition starts from a cultural condition which many people across the globe are currently living through. It is a situation in which fear is being triggered, confinement taken as a given, surveillance considered as normal and conscious disinformation omnipresent, the whole under the cover of guaranteeing security, freedom of consumption and public policy transparency. More than anything, soft manipulation is the method of the day.

With works that cover all available media of contemporary art today, they provide us with possible ways of confronting this condition, whilst at the same time exposing, even challenging them: doubt is introduced into the system, fear is fended off with cunning play, manipulation is confronted with even more manipulation, and with artistic freedom.


Alexandra Croitoru (RO) & Stefan Tiron) (RO)
"Another Black Site" 2006

Köken Ergun (TR)
"The Flag" 2006


Sagi Groner (IL)
"The Culture of Make-Believe – Part I" 2008


Per Hasselberg (SE)
"Option" 2005


Saskia Holmkvist (SE)
"System" 2001


Andreja Kuluncic (CRO)
"Proposal for a new prison" 2008


An-My Lê (VN)
"29 Palms" 2003/04

Julia Meltzer (CA, USA) & David Thorne (MA, USA)
"It’s not my Memory of it: Three Recollected Documents" 2003


Carlos Motta (CO)
"SOA Cycle" 2005/07


Rabih Mroué (RL) & Elias Khoury (RL)
"Three Posters" 2003

Ferhat Özgür (TR)
"I Love You 301" 2007


Jenny Perlin (NY, USA)
"Inaudible", "Transcript" 2006


Lisi Raskin (NY, USA)
"Tipping Point" 2008


Bert Theis (L)
"Out for Isola" 2004


Måns Wrange (SE)
"The Good Rumor Project" 2006

Carey Young (Z)
"Everything You’ve Heard is Wrong" 1999


Katarina Zdjelar (RS)
"A Girl, The Sun and an Airplane Airplane" 2007


Artur Žmijewski (PL)
"Them" 2007

Another Black Site (2006) by the Romanian-born artist Alexandra Croitoru in collaboration with ST (Stefan Tiron) consists of a photographic series of isolated or seemingly disused military or industrial sites that could be likened to the secret detention camps
the CIA has been known to have established in various European countries. The existence of these sites was revealed to the general public as a “collateral damage”, so to speak, of the “war on terror”. At the time of discovery Romania was shaken by a controversy, but as so often the truth was buried under the sheer amount of public statements and counter-statements. Appropriating the methods employed by the authorities in numerous supposedly democratic countries, Croitoru’s installation deliberately entertains the confusion by means of a series of documents and interviews on the issue.

The images in Köken Ergun’s two videos are excerpts from original footage of official ceremonies held in Turkish stadiums. I, Soldier (2005) was filmed during the National Youth and Sports Day, while The Flag (2006) shows celebrations on the Day of the Child (23 April). These painstakingly choreographed ceremonies are a pretext for public speeches and readings of patriotic, if not nationalistic, poetry evoking a sort of timeless “Socialist realism”.


Sagi Groner presents four scale models of TV studio settings seemingly fitted for biblical, mythological or historical film shootings. The ubiquitous presence of a camera, lighting gear and a blue screen (used for digital image inserts) evidences the artificial construction of such narratives. The “authoritative character” commonly associated with myths and ancient stories – but also recent lore such as the novel The Wizard of Oz or the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s larger-than-life statue in Baghdad – often makes us forget that they were conceived in a distinct context and with a specific purpose in mind.

Between 1964 and 1974 the Swedish Social Democratic Party was deeply divided over the issue of whether the country should produce its own nuclear bomb. At the heart of the debate was the heavy water plant R3, originally devised to provide the heating for the Stockholm agglomeration. Per Hasselberg’s installationretracing this controversy comprises numerous related articles and documents as well as two interviews. The first of these sees Hasselberg talking to Bengt Göransson who at the time suggested a compromise to the Prime Minister Olof Palme, the other being a sound recording of an interview with the journalist Christer Larsson who in 1985 asked that Olof Palme make the records on the Swedish nuclear programme public.

In her part-journalistic part-staged documentaries Saskia Holmkvist analyses the complex relationships between authenticity, credibility and mediation. Her video Eight Martini (2004), whose title refers to an expression frequently used by CIA agents to indicate a successful operation, the action seems to have been disconnected from the narrative, as though the language spoken was encoded, effectively undermining any claim of veracity. System (2001) shows a fly crossing the screen while an account of various stories from around the world confronts spectators with the essentially unpredictable consequences of seemingly rational actions.

During her first stay in Luxembourg Andreja Kulunčić turned her attention to the construction plans for the new penitentiary in Schrassig. The artist then set out to initiate a dialogue between the inmates or former inmates and the architect in an attempt to broaden the scope of the debate and find solutions for improving the detainees’ conditions and eventually raise their prospects of successful social rehabilitation. The successes and shortcomings of this process are documented through a series of drawings, plans, letters and interviews as well as a work marking the outlines of an “ideal” prison cell on the floor of the exhibition space.

Though An-My Lê was denied permission by the US administration to document military operations in Iraq, she eventually was allowed to photograph American troops exercising for the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her black and white photographs, in which the landscape plays an important role, are reminiscent of pictures from the War of Secession. They show faithful reconstitutions of war scenes, in which American soldiers are seen playing the role of Iraqi troops whose barracks are smeared with anti-US graffiti.

Julia Meltzer & David Thorne’s documentary It’s not a Memory of it: Three Recollected Documents (2003) sheds a light on various episodes from the Cold War to the present day, which for political or strategic reasons have been kept secret from the general public. Their film, which was awarded the First Prize for Best Documentary Short at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival in 2004, unravels the mechanisms behind the “culture of disinformation”.

In Three Posters (2003), a collaborative work with Elias Khoury, Rabih Mouré restaged a performance based on previously unreleased TV footage. The video shows a so-called “freedom fighter” hours before his suicide attack addressing the camera. This original material, which was found in the offices of the Lebanese Communist Party, shows that there were three alternate takes of the speech, the “best” of which the terrorist chose for public broadcast.

In SOA Cycle (2005-2007) the Colombian-born artist Carlos Motta investigates the School of the Americas, a series of institutions on the Latin American continent sponsored by the USA, which formed generations of soldiers and military strategists who would later serve the interests of Northern America. Motta’s installation comprises a mural painting and a newspaper with information on the SOA.

A Japanese-style karaoke, in which visitors are invited to sing to the tune of the Turkish Constitution. Ferhat Özgür’s I Love You 301 (2007) features a mantralike melody to the lyrics of the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish constitution, which outlines the penalties for “denigrating Turkishness”. The work’s ironical undertone points to the paradoxes of globalisation, which stipulates the free circulation of goods and aims to unite people under the smallest possible common denominator.

Jenny Perlin’s Transcript and Inaudible (both 2006) are a word-by-word transcription of a dialogue between a couple who befriended Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the American couple tried and sentenced to death in 1953 for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union. While the accusation rested mainly on FBI transcripts of the Rosenbergs’ conversations, it quickly appeared in the course of the trial that the recordings were of such poor quality that the agent in charge of the operation was forced to substitute the mention “inaudible” for the numerous blanks – proof, if needed, that the accusation rested on fragile evidence. The Perlin Papers – named after a relative of the artist who successfully battled for the FBI files on the Rosenberg case to be made public – contain over 250,000 documents, which are now accessible to researchers at the Columbia University Law School.

As her contribution to Soft Manipulation, the USborn artist Lisi Raskin has devised a performance and installation entitled Tipping Point (2008). Its centrepiece is a specially decorated stand, which served as a platform during the opening. A bodyguard standing at the entrance of the exhibition space suggested an imminent threat. An actress read out a statement written by the artist that deals with theoretical aspects of nuclear war strategy, particularly those relating to the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). A slide projection with charts, diagrams and various other documents illustrated the speaker’s lecture. Raskin’s performance staged the power of discourse – of the staged word, as it were – while clearly alluding to the US military machine. (A text with further explanations is available at the reception desk.)

The Luxembourg-born artist Bert Theis lives and works in Milan, where for several years he has been spearheading the Isola Art Center and the out–Office for Urban Transformation, two citizens’ initiatives in a popular neighbourhood threatened by large-scale urban redevelopment plans. Theis’s initiative, which is supported by the local residents as well as numerous local and international artists, aims at devising alternative proposals for the area’s redevelopment, which would allow for keeping its convivial character and quality of life. Various related documents and a film by Mariette Schiltz document the highlights of this uneven battle, while Theis’s photomontages underline the nomadic character of his out–Office, which in Luxembourg has rallied a citizen’s interest group with similar objectives than those of their Italian counterparts (i.e. fighting for the preservation of a playground in the Weimerskirch district).

Måns Wrange’s projects, many of which are ongoing over a period of several years, explore the devices and strategies used to manipulate public opinion, such as public pressure groups, polls and rumours ( In The Good Rumor Project (since 2006)
Wrange has been spreading “positive rumours” in the twin border towns El Paso (USA) and Tijuana (Mexico) relating to the inhabitants on either side of the divide. He subsequently monitored the progression of his rumours in target groups, thus demonstrating the effectiveness with which unchecked information spreads among communities.

Carey Young’s video Everything You’ve Heard is Wrong (1999) shows the artist dressed up as a businesswoman lecturing on business communication. As the site of her lecture Young chose the famous Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park, one of the rare public spaces allowing for free and unmediated expression. But in the era of democracy and the “information society”, this venerable institution seems somewhat outdated.

For A Girl, the Sun and an Airplane Airplane (2007) Katarina Zdjelar asked Albanian citizens to speak Russian, the language of the long-time occupier. In post-Communist Albania, Russian is progressively abandoned in favour of English and Italian. The interviewees’ silences and “memory gaps” point to the lasting “mental occupation” fostered by the dominating power’s language.

For Them (2007) the Polish artist Artur Žmijewski invited two groups of four people each to take part in a creative workshop. The artist’s intention was to create a context in which the groups’ conflicting, unyielding and partly intolerant ideological positions could fully express themselves. His video recording of the workshop sessions lays bare the mechanisms of aggression and self-defence, while questioning the potential of art as a tool for mediation and dialogue.


photo gallery