The exhibition Avant-Garde and Liberation highlights the significance of global modernism for contemporary art.

It raises questions of the political circumstances that move contemporary artists to resort to those non-European avant-gardes that formed as a counterpart of the dominant Western modernism from the 1920s to the 1970s. What are the potentials artists see in the ties to decolonial avant-gardes in Africa, Asia, and the “Black Atlantic” region, to take a stand against current forms of racism, fundamentalism, or neocolonialism? Which artistic methods are employed when addressing subjects such as the encroachment on personal liberties and social cohesion by drawing on seminal anticolonial and antiracist positions of the early to mid-twentieth century?

Showcasing several works by more than twenty-five artists from South Asia, Africa, Europe, and America, Avant-Garde and Liberation offers a glimpse of global modernism through the prism of their pertinence for contemporary art. In the complex tangle of past and present, the exhibition reflects on questions of temporality as well as the possibility of engaging with old and new liberation movements.

Artists: Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Omar Ba, Radcliffe Bailey, Yto Barrada, Mohamed Bourouissa, Diedrick Brackens, Serge Attukwei Clottey, william cordova, Atul Dodiya, Robert Gabris, Jojo Gronostay, Leslie Hewitt, Iman Issa, Janine Jembere, patricia kaersenhout, Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, Zoe Leonard, Vincent Meessen, The Otolith Group, Fahamu Pecou, Faith Ringgold, Cauleen Smith, Maud Sulter, Vivan Sundaram, Moffat Takadiwa, Jack Whitten