Oliver Ressler, After the Crisis is Before the Crisis, Artra Galleria, Milan

Oliver Ressler - Spatial Occupations

12 of July (Thursday)
8:00 PM / Wyspa Institute of Art

Admission free

Oliver Ressler will present a new body of work that addresses the starting points and implications of the global financial and economic crisis as well as the underlying flaws in the model of parliamentary democracy revealed by the crisis. Ressler’s films and installations are often based on interview situations in which the artist creates a platform for the concerns of his protagonists. Exemplary is the 8-channel video installation /What is Democracy/ (2009), which was shown at Wyspa Institute of Art in 2010, in which by means of interviews with activists he essentially formulates a global  analysis of the deep political crisis facing the western model of democracy. This crisis is manifested in the fact that elections in parliamentary democracies increasingly become rituals devoid of meaning, while the real decisions are made outside of public debates. Ressler’s wall text /Elections are a Con/ (2011) alerts us to this danger, while the wall text /Too Big to Fail/ (2011) and the films /The Bull Laid Bear/ (2012, co-directed with Zanny Begg) and /Robbery/ (2012) explore the handling of the financial and economic crisis, the bailout of banks and its social consequences.

The police, soldiers and managers in Ressler’s photographic series /We Have a Situation Here/ lie motionless in heaps, stripped of their functions. Questions arise as to whether and how alternative systems are feasible, how they can be structured and how existing orders can be altered. Ressler’s latest work, the 3-channel video installation /Take The Square/ (2012), based on conversations he initiated and filmed among activists of the squares movements in Madrid, Athens and New York, provides some answers on that. This major work focuses on organizing, horizontal decision-making in assemblies and the tactic of occupying public spaces.


Oliver Ressler, born 1970, lives and works in Vienna and produces exhibitions, projects in the public space, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, forms of resistance and social alternatives. His projects have been in solo exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum, USA; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Kunstraum at the University of Lüneburg; Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid; Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt; Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery, Krakow and The Cube Project Space, Taipei. Ressler has participated in more than 200 group exhibitions, including the MASSMoCA, USA; Itaú Cultural Institute, Sao Paulo; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven and at the biennials in Prague, Seville, Moscow, Taipei and Lyon. For the Taipei Biennale 2008, Ressler curated an exhibition on the anti-globalization movement, A World Where Many Worlds Fit. A traveling show on the financial crisis, It’s the Political Economy, Stupid, co-curated with Gregory Sholette, is currently on display at Centre of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece. His book Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies was published by the Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk in 2007.