Difference on Display
Diversity in Art, Science & Society
Exhibition at the Beurs van Berlage (Berlage’s Stock Exchange), Amsterdam, from 16 December 2009 to 7 March 2010. With an extensive parallel programme to include lectures, film screenings and debates in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen and Rotterdam.
March 3rd - May 26th 2011 exhibition at Das Kleisthaus, Berlin (Germany)
The ambitious ‘Difference on Display’ art exhibition is being staged at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam from 16 December 2009 to 7 March 2010. Aimed at a broad audience, it features the responses of international artists to a defining social question of our time: What is normal and who gets to decide?
Technological progress offers a host of opportunities for people of all sorts, shapes and sizes. Yet everything in our society seems to be dominated by an urge for uniformity. Commerce and the media increasingly dictate how we look at ourselves and at others: perfection is the norm. But what is that norm and who actually meets it? Where do we draw the line? At a facial wrinkle, a depression, at a visible prosthesis, the taking of pills to increase intelligence, at drastic cosmetic surgery? The exhibition offers three lines of approach: perfectibility, consumer culture, and man and technology. Artists create space for diversity with humour and insight.
What is normal and who decides that? This question also serves as the guiding principle for the publication. Difference on Display questions normality in a society that elevates perfection to the norm, a society in which the market and the economy produce new groups that are needy of care and (bio-) technological advances present opportunities as much as they narrow them down. Disability studies is a young discipline that investigates how people’s lives are affected by multiple and complex representations of normalcy and difference. Real-life cases and personal stories offer novel insights. Instead of objectifying and denouncing the other as a ‘bearer of difference’, propositions are tabled for negotiation and the redistribution of diversity.
Besides these intriguing texts, this lavishly illustrated publication presents work by over 80 artists, including Marc Quinn, Marlene Dumas, The Chapman Brothers, Viktor & Rolf, Louise Bourgeois and Aernout Mik.
With contributions by Renu Addlahka, Michel Callon, Johnson Cheu, Trudy Deheu, Patrick Devlieger, Ine Gevers, Dan Goodley,
Donna Haraway, Ivo van Hilvoorde, Petra Kuppers, Laurens Landeweerd, Amade M’Charek, Ingunn Moser, Griet Roets, Tom
ISBN 978-90-5662-715-7 | 1. edition | December 2009 | available | Ine Gevers, Maaike Bleeker, Stuart Blume, Amade M‘charek, Miriam van Rijsingen, Jacqueline Schoonheim | design: Bram Nijssen | English | paperback | 17 x 24 cm | 384 pages | illustrated (280 full color) | in conjunction with: Niet Normaal Foundation