Riotous Baroque

From Cattelan to Zurbarán – Tributes to Precarious Vitality

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Kunsthaus Zürich
texts (English) by ­Bice Curiger, ­Elfriede Jelinek, Eileen Myles, Raoul ­Vaneigem and a roundtable with Nike Bätzner, Bice Curiger, Victoria von ­Flemming, Michael Glasmeier, ­Tristan Weddigen
176 p with 200 coloured illustrations
305 x 245 mm, softcover

English Version:
ISBN 978-3-86442-011-5

(out of print)

Other versions of this title:
- German version, ISBN 978-3-86442-015-3

From Cattelan to Zurbarán
Tributes to Precarious Vitality

The word »deftig« is itself baroque and has it etymological roots in the seventeenth century with its ori­ginal meaning »diligent, strong, ­coarse, crude«. The art in this ­exhibition is indeed »deftig« in its directness and proximity to life. The current sense of »deftig«, i.e. »extreme, hearty, robust«, is itself a good description for the principle of the confrontational encounter between works from two tempo­r­ally remote epochs. Yet »Riotous Barocque« is not about the illustrative hot-wiring of motifs, ­themes or formal analogies, but describes an attitude, which, as the idea of »full to bursting life« in its deployment of a sensually artistic intelligence, invokes both that ­closeness to life as well as lament­ing its loss. An attitude which, over and above this, also links questions relating to art per se. The Baroque is equated with ­dynamism, sensory pleasure, ­extravagance, theatricality and a de­parture from the peaceful ­solemnity of classical forms, but also with an epoch of instability and disintegrating social order. A »fluid culture of the interface« has been identified in the Baroque, or, in Erwin Panofsky’s view, the ­beginnings of modernism. In this way both the exhibition and the book recall the fact that baroque art actually only received undis­puted appreciation since the ­beginning of the twentieth century, motivated by a generation of art historians who dared to look back to the past from their very proximity to the art of the new century. This magnificent exhi­bition is accompanied by a cata­logue boasting an abundance of rich, illustrative material and an extensive glossary, featuring works from the Baroque, among many others by Pieter Aertsen, Monsù Desiderio or Rubens, as well as contemporary works for example by Maurizio Cattelan, Nathalie Djurberg, Urs Fischer or Cindy Sherman.

Kunsthaus Zürich, 1/6-2/9/2012