Future Perfect. Contemporary Art from Germany includes films, photographs, sculptures, objects, painting, and collages by sixteen artists who look at visions of the future and speculations on the course of history. The title of the exhibition refers to the tense of the verb that expresses the completion of an action in the future: something will have been. From this perspective, the exhibition asks: if the future can already be perceived as a finished past, how can we nonetheless develop visions, speculate, or move beyond tried-and-trusted ways of thinking?
The ability to speculate, to name intentions, expectations, and fears, and then to make these the basis for action is what holds societies together. Today the future is increasingly seen as a critical concept. Even the very near future is so difficult to anticipate, with all our digital and mobile acceleration, and it seems impossible to come to a reliable understanding about the future. The fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany and the end of a world divided into two conceptual blocks has not only globalized our economies – it has also led to the demise of a good number of old European convictions and notions. But the future is also an emancipatory concept. In the southern Mediterranean area in particular today civil societies are demanding a future, and facing massive resistance in the process.
This exhibition develops reflections on the promises the future brings. Can we come to an understanding concerning a future perfect? How do artists take up a position on the future, using material, form, narrative, or imagination? How do they reflect the past anew? Where do they see options for action?
Curators: Angelika Stepken, Philipp Ziegler