Adjustable Monuments
Group Show
February 26 – June 26, 2022

Azra Akšamija’s The Future to Be Rewritten is featured in Adjustable Monuments, a group show at Sammlung Philara in Düsseldorf. This piece was originally the winning proposal selected by the City of Cambridge’s 19th Amendment Centennial Art Selection Committee in 2020. Shortly before its realization, Akšamija withdrew her proposal, and in her public statement To Build, or Not to Build … A Monument: Why I Withdrew my Winning Proposal to Cambridge Suffrage, she shed light on public art commissioning and participation processes.

How can history and collective memory be mediated with the present? What forms of commemoration does the future need? Stemming from the debate around the re-evaluation of monuments in public space, the Adjustable Monuments group exhibition poses questions on whom, what, and above all, in what form we want to commemorate in future. Ten artistic positions, including those of international artists and collectives, cast light on aspects of current opinion in regard to statues, monuments and memorials, and are complemented by new forms of memory culture.

Monuments in public space are often problematic. Memorials can, for example, serve right-wing and antidemocratic groups as settings for nationalist ideological legitimization, represent the exclusion of marginalized groups and, in addition, project a one-sided, seamless construct of history with a claim to eternity. Alongside urgent questions of who has the right to write history, and by whom it is written, the Philara Collection wishes to focus on and discuss the forms and functions of commemoration, and their origins and narrative construction. What alternative concepts of history can be formulated? Does commemoration serve the interests of state and capital, or does it offer society as a whole a sphere for continuing negotiation?

The positions in the exhibition encompass novel approaches to the memory culture of our present time. They draw upon a variety of practices: these include ritual acts and adoption of immaterial, temporary, flexible, interactive, process-oriented, multidirectional, and collective approaches. The representative function, the understanding of temporality, commemorative practices, and the materiality of monuments are thus reformulated, and augmented by important aspects of the current culture of debate, including political commissioning processes and representation.

This group show includes work by: Azra Akšamija, Maximiliane Baumgartner & Alex Wissel {in cooperation with Madeleine Bernstorff, Ewa Einhorn & Karolin Meunier, Timo Feldhaus}, Black Quantum Futurism, Michael Blum, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Zuzanna Czebatul {in cooperation with Lazaro Rincón, Léa Mainguy, Jullie Bijoux, Zoé Couppé, Natália Drevenáková, Kristýna Gajdošová, Yuliya Herhalava, Marie Olšáková, Samuel Stano, Marie Zandálková}, Aleksandra Domanović, Petrit Halilaj, Ayrson Heráclito, Ülkü Süngün