After The Fact
Propaganda in the 21st Century

Exhibition Design
Lenbachhaus Munich 
May 30th - September 17th 2017

"The best propaganda is dressed up as entertainment." 

(N.J. O'Shaughnessy)

 

"After the Fact", an exhibition and events project, looks at the concept of propaganda in order to broaden its definition in light of the societal, political and technological developments of the 21st century. Our goal is not to define propaganda as an obvious source of evil, as blunt, recognisable and passé, but as an analytical framework that is as potentially problematic as it might be helpful. Accordingly, the artworks gathered in the exhibition engage in various ways with current forms of propaganda and with the porous borders between reality and fiction that are symptomatic of the digital age. Through the exhibition, propaganda is posited as both problem and opportunity for artistic and political discourse and art as both vehicle and obstacle for the discourses of different types of propaganda.

 

(Stephanie Weber, Curator)

The architecture of the exhibition After The Fact: Propaganda in the 21st Century follows these curatorial premises and interprets propaganda spatially as a veil, which operates on the grounds of fiction through occlusion and an orchestrated reorientation of the senses, as in theater. The exhibition space is Kunstbau, an underground longitudinal gallery (14m x 100m), accessed by a ramp that leads to a passage within the subway system in Munich. The installation performs a sequential screening of the space, through pairs of fabric walls that generate a space-between. The fabric walls are double-layered and serve to create a new inside/outside experience within the gallery. The outside is black and frames larger exhibition rooms. The inside is white and defines smaller transition zones, of varying widths. The black surfaces acquire a theatrical presence in their proportions and function as a background to the artwork. They break the longitudinal gallery into sections, allowing for thematic groupings of the works. In the interstitial spaces, colored lights reflect on the white canvas, creating an other ambiance. In them, the voice of the curator comes up through documentary materials, such as videos and news reproduction, composing a parallel narrative throughout the exhibition that is differentiated from the art works. The experience of the space-between is also a moment of sensorial clearing, preparing the visitor for the next section. The fabric wall system was complemented by free-standing display units, designed to give the curator maximal flexibility during the exhibition setting. The free-standing display units have three typical sizes (1,20mx1,20m; 1,20mx2,40m; 2,40mx2,40m) and were chosen by the curator freely as the content of the exhibition was being defined. The architectural system intended to allow the curator a margin of adjustment to deal with the unpredictable result of seeing the artwork together only a few weeks before the opening. It also allowed for the fabrication of the exhibition parts prior to the full definition of its content. 

The exhibition was open between May 30th and September 17th 2017, at Kunstbau, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany. It presented works by Sandow Birk, Hannah Black, Bradley Davies, Carmen Dobre-Hametner, Işıl Eğrikavuk + Jozef Amado, Beate Engl, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Samuel Fosso, Coco Fusco, Cindy Hinant, Alfredo Jaar, Marika Kandelaki, Wolfram Kastner + Günter Wangerin, John Miller, Marge Monko, Carlos Motta, Khalil Rabah, Julian Röder, Aura Rosenberg, Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, John Smith, Sean Snyder, Nancy Spero, Jonas Staal, Luis Velasco Pufleau + Sergio Santamaría Borges and Franz Wanner.

Institution: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München
Curator: Stephanie Weber
Curatorial Assistant: Sebastian Schneider
Exhibition Architecture: Marina Correia
Exhibition Graphic Design: strobo B M
Photos by: Lenbachhaus and Marina Correia