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“Can we leave things as they are?” is an exhibition with works by Rory Pilgrim and Louwrien Wijers.

Opening 16th of September at 19:00. Exhibition runs 17 of September – 19 of November 2011. Opening times Thursday – Sunday, 12:00 – 17:00.


Rory Pilgrim (UK, b. 1988) ingeniously combines musical composition, singing and conducting choirs with investigation into political structures, social issues and the design of the public space. He intervenes in communities by providing some kind of service or a simple gesture, thereby creating works that function at the interface between the visual arts, music and cultural sociology.

On 19th of May 1989, Zhao Ziyang went to Tiananmen Square and personally made a speech urging the protesting students to end their hunger strike. He called out to them, ‘We are already old, it doesn’t matter to us anymore’, it was his last public appearance. Conceived and reflecting upon this historic speech and statement Pilgrim will install a meeting room in TAG during the exhibition. On the last day elders from the city are invited to come to the meeting room to discuss and answer directly in consensus “Can we leave things as they are?”. Depending on their answer (“We can leave things as they are”, “We can’t leave things as they are” and “We are undecided”) this message would be broadcasted out to the city via a composition written for a carillon on a public square in Den Haag. The elders will be taken to the carillon to hear their decision broadcast.

Beginning in 1978, artist and writer Louwrien Wijers (NL, b. 1941) conducts interviews with charismatic individuals from all over the world. ‘Art meets Science and Spirituality in a changing Economy’ is a mental sculpture of panel dialogues in the Stedelijk Museum initiated by Wijers. The conversations focus on the future of art, religion and money. With: David Bohm, John Cage, Ilya Prigogine, Dalai Lama, Lawrence Weiner, Marina Abramovic, Fritjof Capra, Robert Rauschenberg, among others. The prediction of the participants in the panel discussions is that we are moving from a “competitive society to a more compassionate society”. This is the growth the artists were aiming for who perceived art as a possible way of changing the world for the better. “Dramatic cultural and socio-economic changes require that we relinquish our anxiety-ridden mechanistic linearity”, says Wijers, “competition, fragmentation and specialisation based on the alleged certitudes of the mechanistic world view have to be replaced by respect for others and a general awareness of universal responsibility.” TAG will present the recently edited documentation of the discussions, next to Wijers’s writing.

In addition to the work of Pilgrim and Wijers there will be a screening of Anton Vidokle’s film New York Conversations. Shot in a Chinatown storefront converted for this occasion into an improvised kitchen/restaurant, the film documents three days of public conversations between artists, critics, curators, and a free floating public. The film is a subjective record of these conversations, which explored various topics ranging from questions concerning precarious and immaterial labor in the field of art, possibilities for non-alienated life and working conditions, the feasibility of artistic freedom, and possible means of reclaiming dignity in the work of art criticism, to more immediate questions concerning whether what was actually taking place throughout the course of the event was in fact an artwork.

With: Francisca Benitez, Nico Dockx, Daniel Faust, Media Farzin, Liam Gillick, Egon Hanfstingl, Jörg Heiser, Steven Kaplan, Shama Khana, Anders Kreuger, Miwon Kwon, Valerie Mannaerts, Sis Matthé, Hadley Nunes, Saul Ostrow, Marti Peran, Simon Rees, Els Roelandt, Dieter Roelstraete, Martha Rosler, Joe Scanlan, Maxwel Stephen, Monika Szewczyk, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jan Verwoert, Anton Vidokle, Lawrence Weiner, Andrea Wiarda, Louwrien Wijers and others.