We Humans are Free: From the Collection of S.M.A.K., Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent

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To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between the cities of Kanazawa and Ghent, about 70 works by 11 artists selected from the collection of S.M.A.K., are shown at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. 

All of the selected works make careful observations on human life and art, and focus on the believe that humans can be free through art.

Up to the present day from the beginning of the 20th century, the theme “Art=Life” has always been important in art. It will be safe to say that since the foundation in 1975, S.M.A.K. has been one of the museums playing an active part in pursuing this theme most earnestly. Three artists, Beuys, Broodthaers, and Panamarenko, who the Museum itself call “Big Triangle”, approved all human potentialities, criticized the “art” system with narrow views, and tried to broaden the concept of “art” to the extent of “life.” In this age, there is no longer a cold war, and trends toward the globalization are rapidly proceeding. On the other hand, while “Neo-Liberalism” spread, control is being strengthened in such a way that we have never known. In the present situation, it is increasingly important for us to retrace the steps of Beuys and others to contemplate on what “freedom” means. This attitude has been passed on through the artists’ activities and works which characterize today’s S.M.A.K.? Barrio, Weinberger, and others. Additionally, the Museum is proceeding with its unique activities, linking the system of “museum” and the society. This idea is symbolized, for instance, in the legendary exhibition of “Chambres d’amis,” (1986) in which artworks are displayed in local residents’ houses in Ghent. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa aims to be a museum involving citizens and open to the public. Sharing the attitude and actions of S.M.A.K., which aim to connect human life and art, we at this museum in Kanazawa are pleased to introduce their activities in this exhibition. Artists featured in this exhibition: Artur Barrio, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Katharina Fritsch, Fabrice Hybert, Annika Larsson, Mark Manders, Bruce Nauman, Panamarenko, Luc Tuymans, Lois and Franziska Weinberger.

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