Art After Democratism:
A project by Jonas Staal

Traffic, Dubai

March 14, 2013

Art After Democratism:
A project by Jonas Staal

March 15–April 15, 2013
Opening: March 15, 7pm

Traffic
179 Umm Suqeim Rd, Dubai

www.viatraffic.org

Art After Democratism is Dutch visual artist Jonas Staal’s first solo presentation in the United Arab Emirates. Staal (b. 1981) has become known as an artist actively engaged with social and political issues, specifically attempting through his art to contribute to new forms of democratic practice.

In Art after Democratism Staal explores new forms of art practices outside of what he calls the doctrine of “democratism,” which refers to a politics that uses important emancipatory concepts such as “democracy,” “freedom” and “equality” to pursue contradictory aims, for example when states or organizations impose the idea of non-democratic measures being necessary to “enforce democracy.” Democratism is what Staal believes today provides the dominant framework and system of valuating artistic practice. In Traffic, he will exhibit his two most prominent projects. The first part of the exhibition is called “Mapping Democratism” and comprises the fifth installment of his series “Art, Property of Politics” (2010–ongoing). The second part is entitled “Acting Fundamental Democracy,” and comprises an overview of his “New World Summit” (2012–ongoing) project.

In “Art, Property of Politics” Staal investigated private art collections of political parties, and even the former art practices of prominent politicians, attempting to show the intrinsic relationship between art and politics under democratism. The fifth installment of the “Art, Property of Politics” series, titled Monument to Capital, is specifically developed for the Art After Democratism exhibition in Traffic, and departs from the Barclays Capital’s Skyscraper Index, an index managed by the international investment bank Barclays visualizing the “unhealthy correlation between construction of the next world’s tallest building and an impending financial crisis.” Barclays’s research shows that when the Dow Jones index goes down, the buildings literally go up, as if the architectural landmarks of the high-capitalist countries unconsciously respond to an unfolding crisis in an attempt to capture, to make “solid” what would otherwise melt into air. In Monument to Capital Staal takes this research of Barclays as his starting point to discuss the role of architecture within democratism.

The “New World Summit” is an artistic and political organization founded by Staal, aiming to provide by means of “alternative parliaments” a platform to organizations that are placed “outside” democratism. The first edition of the New World Summit on May 4 and 5, 2012, in the Sophiensaele in Berlin hosted four political and three juridical representatives of organizations placed on so-called international designated terrorist lists to reflect on their own practices, histories, and views on democracy. On December 29, 2012, the second edition of the New World Summit took place in Leiden, the Netherlands; and in the beginning of December the first public New World Summit pavilion was built in Kochi, India. The installation in Traffic offers an overview of the different editions of the New World Summit so far by means of a prototype of the “New World Summit – Bureau,” comprising scale models of the different alternative parliaments, video documentation of the summits, and the research library of the organization. During the period of the exhibition, the bureau will be regularly in use by the team of the New World Summit.

For more information on Jonas Staal, please visit www.jonasstaal.nl.
For more information on Traffic, please visit www.viatraffic.org.

Questions? Nina Trojanovic / nina [​at​] viatraffic.org / T +9714 3470209