Elisabeth Claus
Chairwoman of Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg

Notes on the exhibition concept “Artist / Don Quixote”

The artist Ahmad Rafi has been associated with the Neue Kunstverein Aschaffenburg for many years – with performances, participation in group exhibitions, project ideas – and so was met with an open ear when he introduced the idea of ​​„Artist – Don Quijote“ to us nearly three years ago.

His concept, which was to ask the international artists he knew and befriended, how they defined their social and existential roles as artists – mirrored in the form of the literary figure – sounded exciting, as did the fact that several exhibition venues would be included.

The title „Artist / Don Quixote“ is not an assertion, but rather a question of how and where artists can locate themselves today in a situation that is characterized by an exaggerated, commercial art market and constantly changing media – to name just a few of today‘s challenges. Are you yourself not in an existential situation that sometimes feels like a hopeless struggle?

The participating artist duo Greff and Breuer formulates a possible answer:

„Like the novel character of Don Quixote, we (fictitiously) comb through the inner and outer landscapes, fight through the chaos, run after longings. In the given concept of the project, the visitor becomes part of the staging and is called upon to seek his way through the alleged confusion. He too is on a journey on an unsafe ground, with an uncertain destination. Recipient meets producer!

The „constructed“ room situation projects the daily, biographical border crossing of the artistic ego. It is the race against time, a race against their own failure and at the same time against ignorance and intolerance in a civilization slowed down by the effects of the media. “

The fact that performances were planned alongside the installations mentioned here, is consistent with this thematic context: this art form allows self-reflexive experiments to question the possibilities of art and is an expression of the struggle for a new self-image. (In addition, art criticism states that performances are a form of rebellion against the cultural industry, as they deprive the market of a salable aesthetic object: see Kunstforum Bd. 143, p. 180)

Whether painting, installation, performance or film – the artists are concerned with finding a level of perception in which a reconciliation, a unity of illusion and reality seems possible, even when hopes are disenchanted and we have to endure bitter truths.

Aschaffenburg, July 2019