Really Useful Knowledge - Exhibition curated by WHW

place: Madrid, Spain
organiser: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
The exhibition 'Really Useful Knowledge' curated by WHW is on view between 28 October, 2014 and 9 February, 2015 at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain.

Artists: Brook Andrew, Ardmore Ceramic Art, Ariella Azoulay, Hicham Benohoud, Phil Collins, Carole Condé & Karl Beveridge, Chto Delat? , Emory Douglas, Primitivo Evanán Poma & Association of Popular Artists of Sarhua, Núria Güell & Levi Orta, Dmitri Gutov & David Riff [Lifshitz institut], Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, Adelita Husni-Bey, Iconoclasistas, Abbas Kiarostami, Runo Lagomarsino, Darcy Lange, Victoria Lomasko, Marcell Mars, Azzedine Meddour, Daniela Ortiz, Trevor Paglen, Trevor Paglen & Jacob Appelbaum, Partisan Art, D.A. Pennebaker, Hannah Ryggen, Catarina Simão, Mladen Stilinović, Mujeres Públicas, Subtramas, Traficantes de Sueños, Cecilia Vicuña, Lidwien van de Ven, Carla Zaccagnini and Želimir Žilnik.

The exhibition “Really Useful Knowledge” starts from the notion of really useful knowledge inaugurated by workers clubs in UK in early 19th century, to oppose the production-driven education organized by the ruling class. Through this reference to the beginnings of struggle against unrestrained capitalist exploitation and the early efforts towards self-organized education of industrial workers, it advocates for establishing the new ways of reciprocal learning and teaching, and for the re-examination of forms of our social and political organization.

Exhibition presents an array of strategies and methodologies through which artists deconstruct the ‘common knowledge’ and challenge hegemonic views on history, art, gender, race, and class. These range from the position of the autodidact and his/her resistance to the authority of ossified intellectual positions, to the various models of collective work aimed at renegotiating and redistributing the power relations in all spheres of life. Use of folk or amateur practice to convey social and communal messages; attempts at reactivating emanicipatory and democratic potential of repositories of knowledge such as an archive, library, and museum; collecting and reorganizing the images or objects in order to reveal the ways in which images operate; focusing on art's capability to produce imagery able to provoke strong emotional responses and its relation to the political struggle; are some of the approaches used by the artists taking part in the exhibition.

Today the idea of universal and free public education is loosing ground to increased privatisation, commodification, and subjection of knowledge sharing to restricting intellectual property laws. While not disregarding the role of the school as an instrument of building and legitimizing the existing social order, “Really Useful Knowledge” insists on universal and public purpose of education. The exhibition unfolds between the notion of inherent knowledge of art, expressed both through objects and social relations it creates, intrinsically devoid of instrumentalization. and the examination of the processes through which ideological shifts are reflected in art and education. Understanding the ways in which the perception of the relevance of certain knowledge changes at any particular time is essential for understanding what kind of knowledge and what type of engagement is needed in present circumstances.

More: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/really-useful-knowledge

(D.H., 04.11.2014)