1.4. –6.8. 2023


For THE EDUCATIONAL WEB the Kunstverein in Hamburg hosts eight schools, educational organisations, and independent study programmes which define themselves as alternatives to the traditional “art academy” and have established key positions in today’s field of contemporary art. Taking the theorist, educator, and decolonial thinker Ivan Illich’s seminal book Deschooling Society (1971) as a point of departure, THE EDUCATIONAL WEB aims to generate a dialogue between art and the educational and pedagogic practices that underpin it. In an attempt to close the gap between lived experience and theory, Illich proposed a model of education that aimed to short-circuit networks of power and remove distant and historic nodes of meaning within curricula, so as to place a focus on more immediate knowledge and its production within the social life of communities.

The exhibition at the Kunstverein includes various organisational forms planned by and around the participating programmes reflecting educational aesthetics of the past, present, and future. It spans from the active founding of a new programme titled AGENCY by the British artist Ghislaine Leung to a group exhibition by a network of participants in the BPA// Berlin program for artists. Chto Delat redefines their School for Enganged Art in response to the Russo-Ukrainian War with the School of Emergencies, and MASS Alexandria presents the allegory of an archive through the presentation of works by past participants. RAW Material Company reviews their former RAW Académie sessions in a setting designed for new social encounters; and an exhibit by the Maumaus considers what constitutes educational tools in the form of an organisational portrait. At the physical center of the exhibition, Ibrahim Mahama’s Parliament of Ghosts stands in as an architectural embodiment of SCCA Tamale’s communal, social setting and as a meeting place throughout the exhibition period. Across this time, Afterall ArtSchool will host a series of talks as a part of their ArtSchool programme conducted both online and in person.

THE EDUCATIONAL WEB follows the 2005 exhibition A.C.A.D.E.M.Y. at the Kunstverein in Hamburg, then under the directorship of Yilmaz Dziewior, and curated by a group including Bart de Baere, Dieter Roelstraete, Charles Esche, Kerstin Niemann, Irit Rogoff, and Angelika Nollert. Produced in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA), the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, and the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. A.C.A.D.E.M.Y. sought to better understand the relationship between art institutions and learning in response to the rise of research-based art practices, the Bologna Process, and the emergence of management culture in the art sector, among other things. As part of “the educational turn,” the exhibition sought to resituate the art institution’s proximity to learning.

Since then, and after almost two decades of extreme centralisation of geopolitical power and capital during the latter stages of globalisation, THE EDUCATIONAL WEB looks beyond the educational turn to artists who have institutional practices, in dialogue with and defiance of dominant educational structures—described by Rogoff as the turn away from the academy in the form of an academy, which in the context of THE EDUCATIONAL WEB means the founding of an institution as embodied and perpetual institutional critique.

Participating schools, organisations, and independent study programmes:

Afterall ArtSchool (London, GB), AGENCY (London, GB), BPA// Berlin program for artists (Berlin, DE), Chto Delat School of Emergencies, MASS Alexandria (Alexandria, EG), Maumaus (Lisbon, PT), RAW Material Company (Dakar, SN), SCCA Tamale (Tamale, GH).

With thanks to the participating artists, educators, and organisers:

Ada Abdrushevich, Sonya Akimova, Orawan Arunrak, Rania Atef, Arfan Barro, Jürgen Bock, Angela Bulloch, Benjamin Busch, Delphine Buysse, Rehema Chachage, Chimurenga, Camille Crichlow, Willem de Rooij, Simon Denny, Mohamed Adel Dessouki, Diakus, Halimatou Diallo, Mod’boye Diallo, Manthia Diawara, Ntone Edjabe, Freya Rachel Edmondes, Tsaplya Olga Egorova, Dina El Kaisy Friemuth, Marianne Fahmy, Sarah Friend, Nina Gasteva, Renée Green, Julian Irlinger, Hamedine Kane, Sarah Kazmi, Paul Kolling, Koyo Kouoh, Selom Koffi Kudjie, Dani Kyengo O’Neill, Ghislaine Leung, Ibrahim Mahama, Renée Akitelek Mboya, Moustapha Mballo Dieng, Arianna Mercado, Adeena Mey, Shirin Mohammad, Nathalie Muchamad, Moad Musbahi, Mikhail Oleynikov, Nikolay Oleynikov, Nnenna Onuoha, Valérie Osouf, Marie-Hélène Pereira, Boris Raux, Frida Robles & Ujjkwal Kanishka Utkarsh, Shirin Sabahi, Anna-Lisa Scherfose, Berit Schuck, Wael Shawky, Fatima Bintou Rassoul Sy, Tang Han, Mahmoud Tarek, The School of Mutants, Simon Thompson, Stéphane Verlet Bottéro, Dmitry Vilensky, Ernie Wang, Xelkoom, Heimo Zobernig.

The exhibition is kindly supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media, the Hamburg Cultural Foundation, the K.S. Fischer Foundation, and GRUNDIG.

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