Life On Mars
The 55th Carnegie International
Edited by Douglas Fogle. Text by Daniel Birnbaum, Richard Flood, Eungie Joo, Chus Martínez.
Are we alone in the universe? Do aliens exist? Or are we, ourselves, the strangers in our own worlds? Conceived around the title Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International, curated by Douglas Fogle, explores the increasingly relevant yet perplexing proposition of what it means to be human in the world today. The question, "Is there life on Mars?" is a rhetorical one, posing a metaphorical quest to explore humanity's response to a world where global events challenge and seem to threaten our everyday existence. Working in a range of media, from micro to macro levels of experience, from tragedy to comedy, the 40 artists from 17 countries in the exhibition explore the alien inside each of us. They include Doug Aitken, Kai Althoff, Vija Celmins, Bruce Conner, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Daniel Guzmán, Mike Kelley, Barry McGee, Wilhelm Sasnal, David Shrigley, Rudolf Stingel, Paul Thek, Wolfgang Tillmans and Andro Wekua, among others. In questioning the absurdity of our lives while demonstrating hopeful aspirations for the future of humankind, these artists foreground the poetic over the monumental and the intimate over the heroic. In the end, the exhibition asks if we ourselves are already on Mars.