24.11. — 19.12.2018


small is beautiful - Akihiro Higuchi, Masanori Suzuki, Mitsunori Kitsunai, Miyuki Tsugami, Nobuyuki Osaki, Rikuo Ueda, Shingo Yoshida

The trend is clear: Away with style, away with anything handmade - instead, intensive research and artistic data. The contemporary art of the West needs to be primarily conceptual but not well crafted anymore. Hence, the works have been hiding for some time behind the unattractive and the problematic concept of the documentary. Today's art travels lighter than it used to. It has rid itself from the burden of beauty from of the last centuries. Has art lost its sensuality?


No must be the answer at the sight of the works exhibited in this group exhibition entitled small ... read more

The trend is clear: Away with style, away with anything handmade - instead, intensive research and artistic data. The contemporary art of the West needs to be primarily conceptual but not well crafted anymore. Hence, the works have been hiding for some time behind the unattractive and the problematic concept of the documentary. Today's art travels lighter than it used to. It has rid itself from the burden of beauty from of the last centuries. Has art lost its sensuality?

No must be the answer at the sight of the works exhibited in this group exhibition entitled small is beautiful, all of which captivate with their unmistakable beauty: Here you find fine lacquer painting or silver dust carefully applied to insect wings and shiny black chitinous exoskeletons as well as resolutely executed brush strokes in acrylic paint on canvas or monumental landscape photography. Misjudging beauty as evidence of a missing conceptual foundation or political message is a serious but frequently made mistake. All participating artists share a sincere respect for nature, whose manifold existence is known to be increasingly endangered by humans. Admittedly, they do not always see this political level at first glance. But this is precisely the reason why the work escapes current fashions that cause art to try to force itself into the guise of the mass media, inevitably forfeiting its genuine qualities.

With sensitivity and elegance that has become rare, these artists ask: What is the place for nature in view of the rapidly advancing technical progress? That this concern is by no means a phenomenon of the 21st century show artists such as William Morris (1834-1896) - co-founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement - or the British economist E.F. Schumacher (1911-1977), whose ideas were first published in the 1973 Small is beautifulA full study of economics as if people mattered. In essence, both Morris and Schumacher argue for a rebalancing of economic and human needs. Schumacher's thoughts on the relevance of environmental protection as well as the problems of atomic energy and the growing scarcity of resources still have relevance today. Their approaches are reminiscent of a common Japanese proverb, which, in free translation, means "Do not forget your initial modesty." This aphorism goes to Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443), an important playwright of Nô-theater during the Muromachi period (1336-1573). The appeal to never forget one's modesty and curiosity is key to these words. Where is our modesty when it comes to the dire condition of our planet?

Modern man does not experience himself as a part of nature but as an outside force destined to dominate and conquer it. He even talks of a battle with nature, forgetting that, if he won the battle, he would find himself on the losing side. (Schumacher, 1973)

small is beautiful - neither the book nor the exhibition - is not a critique of progress per se. It is a reminder to all of us not to lose our modesty. We do not live alone on this earth, but share it with countless larger and especially smaller creatures. It is up to us to recognize that we are still part of the natural whole today. But it seems as if we have already forgotten the importance of this harmony with nature. We lose the sense of the basic. To look again at the little wonders of nature right in front of us would be a first step in the right direction.... show less

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