News: LIU Ding at HKM, Berlin

Liu Ding is featuring his ten-screen video installation Talks of Ten Figures at Parapolitics:Cultural Freedom and the Cold War, a group exhibition curated by Anselm Franke, Nida Ghouse, Paz Guevara, and Antonia Majaca at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKM), Berlin.

After the Second World War, the battle of the systems also embroiled the arts and culture in asymbolic arms race. One example of this was the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), an organization founded in West Berlin in June 1950 by a group of writers driven to consolidate an “anti-totalitarian” intellectual community. From its headquarters in Paris, the CCF subsidized countless cultural programs from Latin America to Africa and Southeast Asia, developing a network of journals, conferences, and exhibitions that advanced a “universal” language of modernism in literature, art, and music. By 1967, it was revealed that the CCF was secretly bankrolled by America’s espionage arm, the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA scandal confirmed that the CCF had been enlisted in shoring up an anti-Communist consensus in the service of U.S. hegemony during the cultural Cold War. The disclosure destroyed the CCF’s reputation, exposing the ideological contradictions and moral ambiguities of advocating freedom and transparency by means that were themselves outside of democratic accountability.

Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War is devoted to the global dimension of cultural politics in the Cold War and to the changing meanings and aims assigned to modernism. Departing from an examination of the interdependencies between the political and aesthetic struggles of the era, the exhibition further reflects the ideological foundations of the conflict lines of today’s global contemporary art.

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