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Call to Action

  • 29 June 2019
  • 8 September 2019
  • Kunsthal Helmond

Call to Action

About freedom, power, and powerlessness

The exhibition Call to action presents notable works of art about freedom, power, and powerlessness from the past four decades. The title Call to action is a reference to the (internet) marketing strategy aimed at prompting people to take direct action, but also refers to activism, critical reflection, and protest.

Around 1980, young graffiti artists from New York won and occupied their own cultural and social position through the free sampling of images and text. In the midst of all these graffiti works, 22-year-old Jonas Van der Haegen presents an acerbic, humorous commentary on today’s unlimited internet consumption in his video installation ‘Fuck My Life’ as well as on ‘calls to action’. After these expressions of ‘freedom,’ we enter the domain of ‘power and powerlessness’ in the exhibition. We see the incredible efforts to conquer space by Zambian ‘Afronauts’ in an installation by Cristina de Middel. Further along, in his large-scale installation ‘Cannonball heaven,’ Yinka Shonibare CBE provides an ironic commentary on the power of former colonial rulers. In a 25-metre-long mural, Gijs Frieling reflects on matters including his own family history in the former Dutch East Indies.

Yinka Shonibare's Cannonball Heaven, aimed at a 25-metre mural by Gijs Frieling.

Mural (25 meters long) made by the Dutch artist Gijs Frieling. In front kolonial art named ‘Cannonball heaven’ made by Yinka Shonibare.

Call to action also presents work by Rammellzee (US), Dondi White (US), Blade (US), Dave de Leeuw (NL), Rob Hornstra (NL), Justine Kurland (US), Yael Bartana (IL/NL) and Paul Segers (NL), among others.

Every day you can see this movie about graffiti en hiphop in New York: WILD STYLE uit 1982 by Charlie Ahearn.


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