Art & Crisis
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Above: Art & Crisis, design for dust jacket, 2018
Above: Art & Crisis, design for dust jacket, 2018
Book launch: March 6, 7–9pm, drinks, performances, readings, in the presence of the authors and contributors

Buchhandlung Kunstgriff
Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich

Art & Crisis is the first volume of a series that aims to explore the state of the world as seen through the lens of contemporary artistic and educational practices. Stemming from the MA Fine Arts at the Zurich University of the Arts, edited by MA director Donatella Bernardi, and published by JRP|Ringier, the book sets out not only to replace the traditional “degree show” catalogue with a broader contextualizing publication showing the path followed by the students-turned-artists over the course of the year but also to explore how an educational institution based in Zurich can locate itself within the global (art) world.

Artistic, philosophical, and visual essays as well as contributions by the MFA students and its professional participants are gathered together under the umbrella title Art & Crisis. A book is obviously a tool to materialize pedagogical experiences and to foster a variety of ways of expression: for example, the fieldwork conducted in Athens, Beirut, and Lesbos, in conjunction with documenta 14. While the Grand Tour was reserved for an elite, democratized access to the world of education implies movement. Should expeditions be organized to go to see art, be it historical or contemporary? Or might it not, rather, be a question of traveling in order to practice another form of art? And if we are to travel, how can we avoid contributing to overall levels of pollution?

From a reflection on “baroque brutalism” in an interview with German artist Florian Dombois about the ZHdK building, along with documents reporting encounters with different professionals (Greek artists and curators, a Lebanese rapper from Tripoli, journalists and architects, NGO volunteers in Lesbos), to an essay by Brazilian philosopher Rodrigo Nunes on “Politics as Pedagogy” and a consideration of the relationship between artistic practices and activism by American cultural critic T. J. Demos, the book makes clear that an MFA today is not only about learning, producing, and exhibiting but also about assessing its position and methods as part of a network of fine art schools and reflecting on how it can be part of a “virtuous” international cultural ecosystem. What kind of polyphony are we composing or listening to? In Art & Crisis we hear the voices echoed in documenta 14, the voices of Trumpism, petrocapitalism, and Standing Rock. A rap of life composed as a means to survive, in Arabic and in Beirut. The voice of Sappho, the poet from Lesbos who would have written history differently: the journey of those who transform the blue of the Mediterranean into a color that is overwhelming. Thinking through painting.

Other contributions include a conversation between the curators Judith Welter and Ian Woolridge about the 2017 MFA Degree Show, visual and text contributions by MFA faculty members Dominique Lämmli and Erik Steinbrecher, and an essay on the possible futures of femininity by MFA graduate student Caroline Ann Baur, who takes mucus as her starting point. The book’s graphic design encapsulates the scope of the publication through its wide system of cross-references and its use of pictograms by activist Rini Templeton.

Authors: T. J. Demos, Florian Dombois, Mazen El Sayed, David Keller, Dominique Lämmli, Rodrigo Nunes, Erik Steinbrecher, Lorenzo Trombetta, Judith Welter, Ian Woolridge

Graduates 2017: Paloma Ayala, Simon Bachmann, Caroline Ann Baur, Michael Bodenmann, Sandra Bühler, Isabell Bullerschen, Joël von Burg, Flavio Cury, Sabrina D’Agostino, André Deloar, Magda Drozd, Marco Fedele di Catrano, Gabriel Flückiger, Nicola Genovese, Roswitha Gobbo, Susanne Hefti, Max Heinrich, Simon Heusser, Stefan Jaeggi, David Knuckey, Vincent Kriste, Georg Krummenacher, Helvetia Leal, Lara Russi, Margit Säde, Lea Schaffner, Olivier Schuppisser, Jeroen Singer, Lara Steinemann, Patrizia Vitali, Ariane Vonmoos

Designers: Nicolas Eigenheer, Noémie Gygax, Jeremy Schorderet

Published by JRP|Ringier
English edition
February 2018
ISBN: 978‐3‐03764‐525-3
Softcover, 160 x 228 mm
320 pages
Images 255 color / 80 n/b

February 12, 2018


Buchhandlung Kunstgriff, Zürich