2021 opened its doors to a global population in conflict; divided but interconnected, and thus exposed and vulnerable, sharing a planet in the very same conditions. Coexistence seems to be among the most pressing issues in need for a radical re-thinking both on a planetary and molecular scale, yet its understanding is at the basis of great asperity.
Operating through allusive references and lyrical registers, On Survival addresses the ambiguities and tensions behind contrasting modalities of human subsistence and in particular their tendency towards mutual care and solidarity, or self preservation and societal withdrawal. The evocative qualities of materials, forms and imagery relating to the basics for survival, are brought to the fore in order to stage – and undo – ideas and stereotypes of both collectivity and heremitic isolation, exposing their inherent contradictions.
The show presents simultaneously convivial and hostile situations, which overlap, threatening any sense of safety on the one hand, and allowing a post-prosperity vitality to emerge on the other. In such a ruinous landscape, the modalities of human participation rest rather unresolved, and looking at survival becomes an excuse to ponder upon perceptions of community and immunity at a moment when the understanding of such ideas is increasingly shaping political strategies and collective conscience around future ecologies of endurance.
Caterina Avataneo is a curator based in London. She was awarded the 2017 NEON Curatorial Award by The Neon Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery and her curatorial projects have appeared in Institutions and galleries including: Zabludowicz Collection, Kunstraum, White Crypt, Gossamer Fog, ACF (all London) and Arcade London & Brussels. Since 2018 she is Associate Curator at Arcade and Curatorial Assistant on assigned projects at Serpentine Galleries. Recently she was curator in residence at RUPERT (Vilnius) and Salzburger Kunstverein (Salzburg) as well as Assistant Curator of the Lithuanian Pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale, winner of the Golden Lion. Currently she is curator at DEMO Moving Image Festival.