March 3, 2014

The Very Last Judgment Triptych

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Herman Asselberghs, After Empire (still), 2012. Video.
 Courtesy of the artist & Auguste Orts, Bruxelles.

Artists: Alice Creischer & Andreas Siekmann, Maruša Sagadin, Ina Wudtke, Herman Asselberghs & Dieter Lesage

Curator: Dieter Lesage

Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych The Last Judgment is one of the most famous works in the paintings gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. It was painted around 1500 at a time of radical change, during which the old feudal structures were shattered and the modern world and its capitalist system were born. The artists Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann, Maruša Sagadin, and Ina Wudtke have reinterpreted the triptych for the present day and, in exhibit, are showing their interpretations of the three panels in three-dimensional displays in the three rooms of the gallery. The interpretations of the exterior panels in grisaille, created by Herman Asselberghs and Dieter Lesage, are being exhibited in the two connecting spaces between the rooms.

In The Very Last Judgment Triptych, the city and the world once again face final judgment. Unlike the work by Bosch, the topography of The Very Last Judgment Triptych is a radically secular one. The spatial coordinates of contemporary cosmopolitans, which The Very Last Judgment Triptych is intended to bring to mind, are no longer the creation, heaven and hell, but the city, the state and Hardt and Negri’s Empire. The Very Last Judgment Triptych presents and questions different forms of redevelopment of the city, the state and the Empire. It attempts to investigate whether ecological and economic cleanups are not merely an excuse to drive away inconvenient groups of people. Is expulsion the fate of the multitude? Anti-gentrification activists squat buildings, the Occupy and Occupy Gezi movements occupy places and parks; but the last image we see is the image of their expulsion. Does it have to be like this? What can we hope for? How can a more just world come into existence if we have lost faith in the prophecy of a Judgment Day? What day, which days do we want to celebrate as days of justice, even if we no longer believe in ultimate justice?

Further information about the exhibition and the accompanying program.

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