The Eightees – A Decade of Extremes


M HKA, Antwerpen

17 June 2016 - 18 September 2016

The Eighties – A Decade of Extremes presents a nuanced picture of the eighties with all its contrasts, cheerful and playful, but also hard and radical.

The eighties are known as the era of the post-modern individualist. These are the years of Thatcher, Reagan, the yuppies (young urban professionals), computerisation and mediatisation. The decade ofnouvelle cuisine, cold wave and advertising, the Walkman and aerobics, IKEA, Michael Jackson, but also of Joy Division and The Beastie Boys. The era of AIDS, the Gang of Nivelles, the CCC (Communist Combatant Cells), the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Anti-Fascist Front, the second punk generation, the No Future Generation. It was the decade of major protest marches against nuclear missiles and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The redefinition of the relationship between the state and the market marks the beginning of the erosion of the welfare state. For some – the yuppies – this meant the opportunity to generate enormous wealth through the newly created free market, but this period of post-industrialization was also marked by a deep recession; it is the time of the No Future Generation. The exhibition The Eighties – A Decade of Extremes brings into focus the polarization that existed between wealth and malaise in the then society.

The exhibition shows works of the New York scene, which at that time was still the example for Europe: new media were used to address social problems, especially the gender issue. Along with this, there were the post-minimal installations with their elitist and cool aesthetic that dominated the European art scene, by artists ranging from Allan McCollum to Jan Vercruysse, and poppyinstallations by Jeff Koons and Wim Delvoye. Artists such as Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven and Danny Devos are shown as well, as exponents of the No Future Generation that saw artists use aggression and provocation both substantively and strategically to position themselves against tradition and political correctness. Aside from a variety of artworks, the exhibition also recalls social and political events through a variety of materials, ranging from drawings by 'political cartoonist' GAL, vinyl records, magazines and movie excerpts.

Artists: Georg Baselitz, Guillaume Bijl, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Club Moral (Danny Devos & Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven), Jef Cornelis, René Daniëls, Thierry De Cordier, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Wim Delvoye, Bernaded Dexters, Lili Dujourie, Jan Fabre, GAL, Robert Gober, Rodney Graham, Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Jörg Immendorff, Per Kirkeby, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley, Allan McCollum, Cady Noland, Ria Pacquée, A.R. Penck, David Robilliard, Martha Rosler, Rob Scholte, Thomas Schütte, Cindy Sherman, Walter Swennen, Jan Vercruysse en Franz West.​

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