Other People's Problems: Conflicts and Paradoxes
This exhibition is concerned with other people's problems, conflicts that do not touch us directly and confrontations stemming from the incompatibility between opposing interests. The works examine various aspects of such confrontations, and thus shed light on religious, political, economic or gender-related sites of contention, as given expression in visual art. Examples include the predicament of Libyan refugees stranded at sea while trying to reach a safe haven, who receive no help from passing European ships; mythological conflicts such as the story of Medea, who kills her two sons to avenge her husband's betrayal; the tragedy faced of political activists in Iran who are assassinated because of their ideas; and additional conflicts concerning the destruction of the ecology, corruptive powers, and individual ethical struggles.
Although these problems do not seem to touch us personally, their very existence hints at the possibility that they will eventually appear on our doorstep, when it might already be too late. Moreover, the lack of empathy that most of us exhibit towards other people's problems may be directed at us as well. In this sense, other people's problems are actually our own, and we should treat them as such.
The artists participating in this exhibition are aware of the solidarity required in order to address such conflicts. They convey their support for other people's problems in a variety of media, and in tones imbued with criticism, irony, or compassion. In this context, the poem written by the pastor Martin Niemöller may be taken as the writing on the wall, as a lesson worth heeding:
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.