With EXAMEN 2023 the Kunsthochschule bids farewell to 70 students who are celebrating their graduation in the documenta-Halle. As with Schrödinger’s cat, the graduates’ potential is still unknown, any kind of future is possible at the same time. Studying at this institution is not conceived as vocational training, but as having the space to acquire and develop artistic and/or design skills. What the graduates will do with these skills is yet to be seen, but the possibilities are wide open.
The graduate exhibition has something ambivalent about it. As fixed as the annual date might be in the city’s cultural calendar, the exhibition also runs counter to everyday life at the Kunsthochschule. Like the ebb and flow of the tide, EXAMEN marks a cycle with unforeseen dimensions. For the graduates it marks the symbolic end of their studies and a metamorphosis. There is a similarity to particles in quantum physics, simultaneously behaving as particles and as waves whose potential is still unexplored.
This diversity in artistic and design practices exhibited during EXAMEN 2023, and also the character of the transitional moment from students to graduates, raise the fundamental questions of what curating means and what the curatorial method is. Curators might seek out rules or patterns, but what they turn up instead is resistance to being read as a homogenous mass. The formal and aesthetic difference is what constitutes the program.
In order to make the difference to the actual relationship between the works shown, the exhibition examines how different design and artistic strategies are used to achieve personal goals and ideas. The works are grouped in five clusters, within which the graduates pursue similar or related visions of the future. This contrast of larger formal differences is meant to underscore the diversity of skills and disciplines that are developed by the students at the Kunsthochschule Kassel.
The exhibition is based on the conviction that art and design have much more to offer than simply a solution to aesthetic or practical problems. Both disciplines are an integral part of social, economic, and ecological transformation, and therefore studying at the Kunsthochschule is not vocational training, but provides students with the opportunity and capability to position themselves in our society using the means of art and design.
Visitors to the exhibition are therefore also presented with the bandwidth as well as the depth with which art and design can influence private, social, economic, and ecological life. Instead of a pedagogy of what good art or good design should be, the exhibition focuses on the differences between the strategies that the graduates use to achieve their goals. It not only conveys future possibilities, but also how the artistic and design practices of the former students are already influencing everyday life in the city of Kassel and beyond.
Opening hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 10am–8pm / Sunday, 12–8pm.
Curator of EXAMEN 2023: Mateo Chacón Pino.