Kunst Raum Riehen / RIEHEN (Switzerland)
22.05.2021 – 18.07.2021

Concentrate, precise, balance, relax, manage your “flow”, and breath! The group exhibition CONTROLOGY at Kunst Raum Riehen presents the works of eleven contemporary artists that negotiate diverse practices, forms, and narratives of control. The title of the exhibition refers to the original term of an efficient set of rules for muscle control for internees during WWI, developed by physical trainer Joseph H. Pilates. While his set of rules was purely body-related, today’s questions about the “proper” posture exceed just physical faculties. In a world experienced as both over-controlled and uncontrollable, the individual body as well as the individual mind are often claimed as last places of refuge and self-determination. At the same time, the imperatives to control are always already registered into ideological structures and accompanied by specifically designed products and meticulously constructed self-optimizing strategies: Personal characteristics and abilities must be improved to the best possible personal condition with the help of self-awareness (mindfulness training, meditation), self-tracking (pedometers, heart rate monitors, sleep-apps), rational self-control and permanent feedback. Remarkably, these methods to increase production, perfor- mance, and efficiency not seldomly appear in close relation with pseudoscientific, metaphysical, or occult teachings and practices of self-knowledge. The group exhibition CONTROLOGY addresses this dilemma and maps a field of practices and theories of control on the way to (controlled) happiness by presenting artistic positions that investigate in phenomena between fetishized individuality, romanticized escapism, capitalist spirituality, and political cultism.

Deborah Müller

Curated by Deborah Müller and Martin Chramosta

Courtesy of the artists and Kunst Raum Riehen
Photocredit Gina Folly