The Welfare State


M HKA, Antwerpen

29 May 2015 - 27 September 2015

The exhibition The Welfare State did not look back wistfully on the welfare state in its traditional form, a utopian blueprint for an egalitarian (homogenous) community in post-war Western Europe. Nor did it invite artists to ‘illustrate’ political and social involvement. What it did do was raise a number of fundamental questions.  What is the ‘imaginary’ aspect of the welfare state? Does it have a physical shape? Can it be ‘shown’?

The exhibition was socio-political, both explicitly and implicitly, and addressed topics that are relevant in a global context, such as the communication between citizens of different socio-economic levels (Stephen Willats), the social implications of artificial intelligence (Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven) the changing status of labour (Kajsa Dahlberg), the rise of the European far right (Arturas Raila), the situation of the refugees fleeing from the civil war in Syria (Róza El-Hassan), or the potential shift to a non-monetary economy (Francisco Camacho Herrera).

The Welfare State  presented new and existing work by eight artists from different generations: Francisco Camacho Herrera (°1979, Colombia/the Netherlands), Josef Dabernig (°1956, Austria), Kajsa Dahlberg (°1973, Sweden), Róza El-Hassan (°1966, Hungary/Syria), Donna Kukama (°1981, South Africa), Artūras Raila (°1962, Lithuania), Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven (°1951, Belgium) and Stephen Willats (°1943, England). The exhibition also included visual and textual material from the four cultural archives of Flanders: Amsab and the Liberal Archives in Ghent, KADOC in Leuven and ADVN in Antwerp.

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