Shared Space provides us with a kind of time capsule covering the period from 1987 to the present, comprising photographs and videos from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch collection loaned under the “Art in our Communities” programme. The exhibition takes as its starting-point the year 1987, when Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty on nuclear arms limitation. This event, together with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR and its satellites, marked the end of the Cold War and ushered in a new global era which was also to be shaped by the creation and development of the Internet.
Each of the artists in the show focuses on this transition period from a different perspective. Some – like Thomas Ruff and Günter Förg – portray buildings which, in their day, were hailed as reflecting the ideals of modernism, but today testify to the failure of those utopian dreams. Others, among them Hans Aarsman, Wout Berger and Olivo Barbieri, capture vast landscapes photographed at a great distance, as though seen from an aircraft flying over a new world. That viewpoint stresses the disconnectedness felt by the individual, even though he is more connected than ever.
Young artists, including Ken Fandell and Ben Gest, use new technologies to convey some of the implications of a fast-moving electronic age, reminding us that the global village is still plagued by differences and distances. The works in Shared Space reveal a group of artists committed to tackling the complexities of these revolutionary times.