Contrology group show curated by Deborah Müller and Martin Chramosta at Kunst Raum Riehen in Switzerland.

Artists: Giulia Essyad, Marianne Vlaschits, Jana Sterbak, Sofía Durrieu, Martina Mächler, Ivan Mitrovic, Elise Corpataux, Emir Šehanović, Dudu Quintanilha, and Roee Rosen
Curated by Deborah Müller and Martin Chramosta
May 22–July 18, 2021
Kunst Raum Riehen, Switzerland

Concentrate, precise, balance, relax, manage your “flow”, and breath! The group ex- hibition CONTROLOGY at Kunst Raum Riehen presents the works of eleven contem- porary artists that negotiate diverse practices, forms, and narratives of control. The ti- tle of the exhibition refers to the original term of an efficient set of rules for muscle control for internees during WWI, developed by physical trainer Joseph H. Pilates. While his set of rules was purely body-related, today’s questions about the “proper” posture exceed just physical faculties. In a world experienced as both over-controlled and uncontrollable, the individual body as well as the individual mind are often claimed as last places of refuge and self-determination. At the same time, the impera- tives to control are always already registered into ideological structures and accompa- nied by specifically designed products and meticulously constructed self-optimizing strategies: Personal characteristics and abilities must be improved to the best possi- ble personal condition with the help of self-awareness (mindfulness training, medita- tion), self-tracking (pedometers, heart rate monitors, sleep-apps), rational self-control and permanent feedback. Remarkably, these methods to increase production, perfor- mance, and efficiency not seldomly appear in close relation with pseudoscientific, metaphysical, or occult teachings and practices of self-knowledge. The group exhibi- tion CONTROLOGY addresses this dilemma and maps a field of practices and theo- ries of control on the way to (controlled) happiness by presenting artistic positions that investigate in phenomena between fetishized individuality, romanticized escapism, capitalist spirituality, and political cultism.

Text: Deborah Müller

All Photographs: Gina Folly