East Contemporary

Van Abbemuseum: Robert Glass “How to Motivate Someone to Leave Voluntarily”

Eindhoven, November 17, 2016 – April 30, 2017, http://vanabbemuseum.nl

Robert Glass’ work addressed a topic, which is very hot across Europe: Refugees. There were two photographs of Dutch detention cells. The detention cells were shockingly beautiful and in bright colors. Best Dutch design. Nevertheless these were locations were deportees who refused to leave are being detained. The efficient cooperation between creative designers and a dominant power structure was chilling. Opposite from the two photographs a video was looping: A motivational interview with a to-be-deported immigrant: You will be better off if you leave.

Glass only showed existing locations and what takes place there. He revealed something. Something that is known, but not acknowledged. Facing the facts in an art museum stressed the aesthetic aspects of law enforcement. Some thoughts that would otherwise come not up did. An interrogation as a conceptual art performance. A prison cell as a Gesamtkunstwerk. Is this a good or a bad way to think about what is going on? Is it a way of objectification and assimilation of uncomfortable facts into our unconsciousness via “art”? Or is it a way to raise and “discuss” these topics?

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