October 18, 1998-January 10, 1999
UNFINISHED HISTORY
Exhibition
Galleries 1,2,3



   
The millennium is almost upon us. Preparations are under way for celebrations around the world. Hotel reservations have been made and flights booked. Stadiums are being built to house the biggest birthday the world has ever shared. However, do we really understand the century we are leaving? The exhibition Unfinished History looks at work by 23 international artists who are grappling with the ambiguities of the century we still inhabit.

 
 

When the Berlin Wall came crashing down in 1989, the notion of globalism hinted at an idealized, post-Cold War harmony. But when the brick dust cleared, the world was on fire again with the eruption of long-dormant ethnic and national antagonisms. The optimism quickly faded as the foretold future and the "unfinished history" of the past collided.

PHOTO
Roman Signer
BETT (BED)  1996

Guest-curated by independent curator-critic Francesco Bonami, in association with Walker Assistant Curator Douglas Fogle, Unfinished History reflects the increasing globalization of cultural production. Bringing together work by an international group of contemporary artists in architecture, film, electronic music, photography, sculpture, installation, and video, the exhibition reflects the multiplicity of artistic approaches to the problems we confront in a world of increasingly fluid borders. Here, the past, present, and future collapse into a set of contradictory, sometimes unsolvable issues.

PHOTO
Huang Yong Ping
THE PHARMACY  1995-1997

The shifting geographic borders of our world play a central role in the exhibition, where mapping appears as a function of both nationalist and corporate imperatives. The late Alighiero Boetti's last tapestry, Mappa (1992-1993), for example, reflects the changing geopolitical realities at the end of the Cold War as visualized by Pakistani weavers, while Alexandr Sokurov's elegiac film Spiritual Voices (1995) takes us to the border of Russia and Tajikistan to document the existential plight of Russian soldiers charged with guarding the border after the Soviet Union's fall.

PHOTO
Shirin Neshat
TURBULENT  1998

The tragic consequences of history itself come to mind in the compelling sculptural meditations of Thomas Schütte and in William Kentridge's animated charcoal drawings, which reflect the complexity of apartheid as seen by a white South African. The history of urban politics meets the present in Mats Hjelm's video installation White Flight (1997), which combines his father's documentary footage of the Detroit riots during the Black Power Movement in the 1960s with the artist's own return to that city 30 years later. Wing Young Huie investigates an increasingly global urban culture of Minneapolis itself in his photographic installation Lake Street (1998).


Photo
Bodys Isek Kingelez
VILLE FANTÔME  1995-1997

An illustrated catalogue published by the Walker in conjunction with the exhibition includes an essay by Bonami and an introduction by Fogle. Available in the Walker Art Center Shops. Softcover: $19.95 ($17.96 Walker members).

UNFINISHED HISTORY IS MADE POSSIBLE BY MAJOR SUPPORT FROM THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT IS PROVIDED BY THE MONDRIAAN FOUNDATION, THE INTERNATIONAL ARTIST'S STUDIO PROGRAM IN SWEDEN (IASPIS) IN STOCKHOLM, THE FINNISH FUND FOR ART EXCHANGE (FRAME) IN HELSINKI, AND BAHRAM AKRADI. THE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE ELIZABETH FIRESTONE GRAHAM FOUNDATION.