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Before the Law : Jimmie Durham en conversation avec Kasper König

Round table
16 09 2011 00:00 01:00

Jimmie Durham's large-scale installation "Building a Nation" (2006) forms a forlorn landscape consisting of many different materials and shapes.


Historical quotations from the American wealthy and influential are integrated into the sculpture, which declare their racism against the native American people. In comparison to other works of Durham, this piece is hard-hitting and explicit. It processes the outright racism against indigenous people over the last 200 years. The installation creates an immediate relationship with the viewer; this is one of the reasons why Kasper König is pleased to show "Building a Nation" in his exhibition "Before the Law".

"Before the Law" will open on December 16th 2011 and is König's final show at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. The exhibition unites representational sculptures from the 1950s - as part of European history - with extensive contributions by contemporary artists who locate the universal issue of human rights in relation to retaining personal dignity. The show's radius thus encompasses the past sixty years in order to account for the existentialist potential of contemporary art.

Durham knows what it means to be politically active since he was part of the indigenous movement and he worked for the forum of the United Nations. He gave up controlled and formalized resistance and returned to art. Since then, his sculptures and performances all deal with general questions of existence. Jimmie Durham and Kasper König will talk about Durham's artistic approach, which focuses on the power of immediacy.