Society acts, but does it act well? Does it act according to its demands or its aspirations, does it perpetuate itself inside its own parameters or claim stake to new, expansive ones? The Society Acts – Version 2. After Moderna Exhibition 2014 group show that recently wrapped at Riga’s kim? Contemporary Art Centre questions the driving force of society at large—its invisible movements, its performative gestures, its communal responsibilities.
An extended version of the exhibition first presented at Sweden’s Moderna Museet Malmö, and the two galleries have continued their collaboration with the show’s second, smaller, more international iteration. Having moved away from the geographical specifications of their The Moderna Exhibition series—it historically existed as an inventory of Swedish contemporary art, running every four years—Moderna Museet Malmö broke the national cycle for the series’ third round with 38 participating artists representing seven countries (including Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland) taking part in the extended Society Acts show.
The exhibition’s more concentrated Version 2, curated by Andreas Nilsson, Maija Rudovska, and assistant curator Julia Björnberg, opened in the Latvian capital on March 6 with a performance by Swedish artist Henning Lundkvist, whose practice of staging the presentation of art set the stage, so to speak, for the “acts” double entendre of the larger exhibition. Does Society Acts refer to the action, the verb, society acting in the present tense? Or does it refer to the noun, the actions themselves, the things a society does and their consequences?
Joining Lundkvist were twenty different artists, many of whom participated in the rich programme of lectures, performances, and film screenings that ran in conjunction with the twenty-artist exhibition, including a performance by Finnish artist Essi Kausalainen, a lecture by assistant curator Julia Björnberg feminism and queer politics, as well as film screenings by Maja Borg (Future my Love, 2012), Maj Hasager (Decembers – a round table conversation, 2012), Emanuel Almborg (The Majority Never Has Right On Its Side, 2013), Jonas Mekas (A Walk, 1990), and Kristina Norman (Common Ground, 2013).
Exhibition photos, top right.