The Oild Show
12 November 2011 – 19 February 2012
HMKV at Dortmunder U - Centre for Art and Creativity
Leonie-Reygers-Terasse, 44137 Dortmund, Germany

Works by international artists reflecting on the world's dependence on oil

In The Oil Show, on display from 12 November 2011 to 19 February 2012 on the 3rd floor of Dortmunder U, the Hartware MedienKunstVerein has gathered 15 contemporary artists whose work addresses the geopolitical, social and ecological consequences of our dependence on crude oil. Their attention focuses on regions such as the Niger Delta, whose natural resources have been ruthlessly exploited for several decades – a fact which is hardly ever discussed publicly in the developed countries. Straddling art and scientific research, the interdisciplinary approach that characterises their work aims to raise the public’s awareness of the increasingly complexity of global economic interests.

The installations, videos, photographs, murals, computer games and films in this exhibition evidence that Western societies are going to great lengths to conceal the inconvenient facts on which their centuries-old hegemony is founded, aiming to strengthen our complacent belief in an unrestricted, consumer-driven market economy – fuelled by non renewable fossil resources – as an everlasting, self-stabilising model of growth. But appearances are deceptive, as recent research suggests that the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction, which scientists refer to as ‘Peak Oil’, was reached around 2006. Despite the conspicuous optimism put on by the PR departments of billion-dollar global oil companies in light of promising oil reserves (for instance in the Arctic), it is an undisputed fact that the global community urgently needs to address the growing problems caused by rising demands for energy and natural resources on the one hand and the decline of available fossil resources on the other hand. With great artistic sensibility, the works in The Oil Show ask questions which are largely shunned by the dominant Western media.

The exhibition at Dortmunder U coincides with the opening of the HMKV’s ‘white cube’, as previously inaccessible areas such as the balconies in the ‘Kunstvertikale’ (Entrance Hall) and parts of surroundings of Dortmunder U will be used as part of The Oil Show. The artists’ duo UBERMORGEN.COM (AT/CH) has successfully probed the ground and will install a drilling platform on the former industrial site, with huge pipelines transporting premium Dortmund oil into the U to be refined. The exhibition venue, formerly the Union beer brewery, is thus turned into a gigantic refinery.

The exhibition The Oil Show is curated by Dr Inke Arns, Artistic Director of the Hartware MedienKunstVerein. It is supported by the Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund, the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of North Rhine-Westphalia, Sparkasse Dortmund, DSW21, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Pro Helvetia, Swiss Cultural Foundation. In 2011 the HMKV was furthermore awarded the prestigious JUMP Annual Sponsorship Award for Art Organisations funded by the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia (Kunststiftung NRW).

Parallel to the exhibition, the HMKV will present a programme of artists’ talks, workshops, theme-related video games, and film screenings within the exhibition.

With works by:
Ursula Biemann (CH)
Christian von Borries (DE)
Mark Boulos (US/NL)
Heath Bunting (UK)
Bureau d’Etudes (FR)
The Center for Land Use Interpretation (US)
Chto Delat? (RU)
Carl Michael von Hausswolff &
Thomas Nordanstad (SE)
Werner Herzog (DE)
Mark Lombardi (US)
Michael Mandiberg (US)
George Osodi (NG)
Natascha Sadr Haghighian (IR/DE)
and others

Curated by:
Dr. Inke Arns

Further information, detailed programme, workshops and events: hmkv.de

Videoproduction by Aischa Butt, David Figura, Music: Primer (maximumbreaks.de)

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