ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012

Lost in Translation. New Biographies of Artists

The artists in this section also speak out for their own interests by writing about their life stories, or by articulating the artistic self that has made them nomads in various art worlds. This reinforces the tendency to adopt fictional identities for the purposes of reacting by role-play to every new context in which they become artists. Self-representation is no longer a portrait in the former sense of the meaning, but rather the performance of roles played for a specific audience. This already begins with the international artist-in-residence programs, which subject artists to various expectations. These residencies themselves are the subject of works by Nezaket Ekici (Work in Progress – Personal Map, 2008 ongoing) and by Tamy Ben-Tor that parody their experiences in the international art world in a two-day performance and in video works. In Drop the Monkey (2009), Guy Ben-Ner interviews himself by telephone. Moshekwa Langa presents a diary with a long list of names. The artist’s existence is above all a question of translation, or rather of untranslatability every time the audience changes. The title of Mladen Stilinović’s An artist who cannot speak English is no artist of 1994, offers a cryptic pseudo-solution. The problem of how to make artistic projects comprehensible to a heterogeneous public cannot be solved by explanations in a global colloquial language.