Critique is not enough
An exhibition by Cittadellarte at Zurich Shedhalle, 14 February - 13 April 2003
Art for a new agorà on exhibition at Zurich Shedhalle, curated by Dagmar Reichert

Shedalle – Zurich, 14 February – 13 April 2003

Cittadellarte in 2002 hosted the exhibition “La Nuova Agorà”, curated by Dagmar Reichert, researcher and professor of human geography at the University of Art and Design in Zurich, which documented concrete initiatives taking place within the various sectors of contemporary society and that create places of meeting and exchange crossing the sectoral boundaries. The exhibition focused on projects that, exceeding the level of criticism and proceeding towards proactive actions and interventions, created a new agora, a place of active participation in the public debate for the community.
The same exhibition, with some variations and three days of workshops, has been presented, a year later, at the Shedhalle ( in Zurich (from February 14th to April 13th) with the new title: “Critique is not enough”.
Criticizing is not sufficient today: the art that is critical is the one already found in museums. In his commitment to society, art must become proactive.
“The presented works – explains Dagmar Reichert – go beyond the pure criticism of social institutions, looking for new collaborations or new ways of reacting”.



Among the participant artists:
Tal Adler, Sabina Baumann, Michael Blum, Calc, Casual Group, Armin Chodzinsky, David Dellafiora, Julius Deutschbauer / Gerhard Spring, Leopold Kessler, Relax, Juan Esteban Sandoval, «Transnational Republic», Marion von Osten.


“Critique is not enough”

“Art is not enough” was stated in 1997 and the Shedhalle Zürich exhibited an art which criticised social processes. “Critique is not enough”, has since then become clear. Detached positions for critique are no longer credible, critical remarks have become capitalized as production factors, critical art integrated in the leisure attractions of museums and shows… In its engagement for society, art has to become more profound. But how to be involved more deeply without being deprived of ones strength? What would be the strategies, possible departure points, what kind of self-confidence is needed…?
The present exhibition at Shedhalle assembles explorations and experiments with these issues. It presents twenty-seven works of participants from Europe and Overseas, which exceed a mere critique of social institutions by seeking new cooperation or new ways of responding. These works are organised in six thematic sections: culture of production, art and economy, inter-cultural shifts, political alternatives, art produces spaces, art and mass media.
The exhibition was created for Cittadellarte-FondazionePistoletto, where it was shown in summer 2002. Now this production can be seen in a slightly changed form at the Shedhalle in Zürich. This time it is accompanied by three days of workshops.
In the workshop entitled Politics of art, artists report about their works on “the unfinished project of democracy” in which they don’t restrict themselves to reflection, but prepare to actively enter the political arena in new associations or parties. Politicians and visitors are invited to discuss these initiatives.
A second workshop focuses on the relationship between economic and cultural value. What does “value” mean in the western economy of desire? What does “value” mean in an economy producing not only commodities, but increasingly important, signs. In this workshop the artists discuss their role within the economic system they criticise. Do they really constitute “the avant-garde of economy”?
The concluding workshop entitled Critique is not enough is set up for an evaluation of the experiences made in the exhibition. Perhaps it is a beginning – the beginning of a future exhibition, coming in the year 2009, when it will be said that “… is not enough”. What will have turned out not to be enough then?
Dagmar Reichert