Exhibition opening: 5 March 2020, 19.00.
With artworks by: Gerrit van Bakel, Maria Barnas, Melanie Bonajo, Paul Chan, Zackary Drucker en Rhys Ernst, Alia Farid, Zheng Guogu, Camille Henrot, Domenico di Michelino, Danaë Moons, Ciprian Muresan, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Grayson Perry, Raymond Pettibon, Laure Prouvost, L.A. Raeven, Rod Summers, Marta Volkova en Slava Shevelenko, Evelyn Taocheng Wang.

Since 2014, the Bonnefanten has been presenting its collection in an explorative way in the exhibition programme Beating around the bush. In different episodes, both the fixed values and the ‘quiet reserve’ of the collection are brought into dialogue with new and proposed acquisitions. In addition, interventions in the form of small solo presentations and individual loans function as mirrors that offer new content-related insights and perspectives. Each episode takes a different thematic angle, exploring the practices of the individual artists and the museum collection as a whole, along tangential lines.

Scenes from the Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is the era when man is the measure of all things; a world where manipulability appears to know no bounds. Hunger, disease and war are no longer unavoidable and uncontrollable plagues, and thanks to biotechnology and artificial intelligence, people can shape the world as they please. Homo sapiens seems to be evolving into homo deus – mankind as a god.

Unprecedented possibilities

The exhibition Beating around the bush #6: Scenes from the Anthropocene presents artworks that can be associated with certain aspects of the Anthropocene. They provide starting points for critical reflection on the unprecedented possibilities that humans have created for themselves, as expressed in achievements in the areas of science, art and welfare, which we count as our civilisation. On the other hand, there is a focus on the drawbacks of the Anthropocene, such as the escalating faith in manipulability or the downside to our ever-increasing footprint. Scenes from the Anthropocene concerns the thin line that people tread between making use of systems they have created themselves and breaking with those systems. Will mankind take responsibility for the future, or is the motto ‘Après nous le déluge’?

Image: Domenico di Michelino, The Expulsion from Paradise (detail), 1450/1475. Photo: Peter Cox. Bonnefanten Collection.