The Prisoner's Dilemma / Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, 2009

The Prisoner's Dilemma: How Artists Respond to the Exercise of Power in Contemporary Life
December 03, 2008 - March 01, 2009
Curated by Leanne Mella for CIFO

Francis Alÿs
Alexander Apóstol
Alexandre Arrechea
Judith Barry
Tania Brugera
Paolo Canevari
Jimmie Durham
Stan Douglas
Cao Fei
Regina José Galindo
Carlos Garaicoa
Mathilde ter Heijne
Thomas Hirschhorn
Jenny Holzer
Barbara Kruger
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle
Daniel Joseph Martinez
Priscilla Monge
Carlos Motta
Antoni Muntadas
Shirin Neshat
Julian Rosefeldt
Laurie Simmons
Eve Sussman
Frank Thiel
Susan Turcot
Monika Weiss
Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck

From the editor:
The Prisoner's Dilemma: How Artists Respond to the Exercise of Power in Contemporary Life, draws upon works in the collection that articulate the ways in which artists respond to the exercise of power in contemporary life.

Throughout history, artists have used many means to unmask and oppose oppressive regimes and structures of power. The examples are so well-known - from contemporaneous drawings and Medieval tapestries depicting the 10th Century Sack of Tunis, to Rubens's The Rape of the Sabine Women and Goya's Disasters of War, to more recent examples in the post-World War II films of Roberto Rossellini, and the Vietnam-era work of Jean-Luc Godard, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, and others - and they continue to shock and move us even after, in some instances, hundreds of years.

In our age, visual artists have successfully seized that territory from Hollywood and feature film. Through works in photography, installation, performance and the moving image, often deployed in combination, they address contemporary social issues with a resonance and power that a corporatized film industry seems unable to achieve.

The works in this exhibition comment upon, confront and challenge strategies of totalizing power and social control. These works and their expansive forms, perhaps because they are intentionally immersive in an age when conventional cinema has relinquished its phenomenological power in favor of miniaturization and portability, convey a great sense of immediacy and connection to the subject. In the collection, issues of powerlessness, exclusion, conformity, marginality, transgression, subversion, escapism, transcendence, protest and resistance are all inventively addressed.

(Gallery Images from left to right: Judith Barry, Speedflesh, 1998; Monika Weiss, Phlegeton-Milczenie II, 2005; Julian Rosefeldt, The Perfectionist (Trilogy of Failure-Part III), 2005; Barbara Kruger, Untitled (We are the Objects of Your Suave Entrapments), 1984; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Tensión superficial (Surface Tension), 1992. )