The Des Moines Art Center will present Ruptures, an exhibition featuring the work of nine contemporary artists and one artist collective: Berlinde De Bruyckere, Lauren Fensterstock, Mona Hatoum, Roger Hiorns, Steven Young Lee, Beth Lipman, Cornelia Parker, the Propeller Group, Doris Salcedo, and Anne Wilson.
The unprecedented development of globalized power structures brought about by market economies and a high technology culture has altered socio-political dynamics around the world. Within that, events caused by war, terrorism, political unrest, racism, sexism, immigration, economic crisis, climate change, pollution, epidemics, mental illness, and the tenuous boundaries between the real and the virtual can be described as ruptures. In fact, the word “rupture” is being used frequently now by political scientists, philosophers, and sociologists to describe unexpected and irreversible events that interrupt the continuity of traditional practices.
The contemporary artists included in this exhibition do not represent or describe specific events, rather, they have created art that embodies the tensions and fears that are flooding our collective conscious on a daily basis. These objects physically express—through the poetic use of materials—feelings of threat, fear, anxiety, unrest, instability, and impending loss. Visible breaks, bursts, leaks, punctures, cracks, and fractures that manifest in the art further the notion that something is awry. The overt, powerful, and physical works viscerally affect the viewer through non-narrative registers and in so doing, incites both emotional and intellectual reactions. As a result, we are not allowed to rest easy in front of these works of art.
Moments of rupture do not allow for stasis and while instability and unrest can evoke despair it can equally inspire the hope of emancipation and new freedoms. When our habitual ways are disrupted, new ways of thinking and being in this world must and can be imagined. While the art work in this exhibition bears our fear and anxiety, it also represents hope. These artists are not offering us new knowledge about specific situations but suggest a new set of conditions, a realm of potential—one that includes calling us into being. In this way, the art in this exhibition functions as ruptures. The artists use all the means at their disposal—both conceptual and material—to suggest a new world and the hope that comes with it.