Universalmuseum Joanneum GmbH

Artists located between handed down knowledge, current discourse and new technologies


From November 15th, the Kunsthaus Graz will place the focus in its wide-ranging exhibition ‘Arts Crafts’ on traditional and local knowledge as they link up with current issues, discourses and new technologies. More and more contemporary artists engage with the possibilities offered by handicrafts and traditional skills, tying local identities with global developments through their art. On show are works by Azra Akšamija, Plamen Dejanoff, Olivier Guesselé-Garai, Olaf Holzapfel, Antje Majewsky, Jorge Pardo, Johannes Schweiger, Slavs and Tatars and Haegue Yang.

Ausstellungsansicht “Triple Vita Nestings”, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australien, 2018, Courtesy kurimanzutto, Mexico City / New York, Foto: Carl Warner

Recent years have seen a marked increase in interest among contemporary artists in materials, in (arts-and-)craft methods, and in experimenting with materials and techniques. These works reference arts-and-crafts, folk and artistic traditions, while at the same time relating to contemporary and technological discourses. The way they handle premodern/traditional/local knowledge, materials and processes does not seek to isolate them, instead it opens them up – towards other cultures, towards modern and contemporary art, to current discourses and digital developments.       


Culture is understood as a flow of diverse influences and elements, which are fed synchronously and diachronically, and are intertwined; a process in which local forms of knowledge and global knowledge transfer are interwoven. The importance and appreciation of craft as an essential component of material culture and cultural identity, and above all the community-creating potential of arts-and-craft traditions, are associated with social and economic conditions in a globalised world. This approach means that artists also challenge – almost as a by-product – current political instrumentalisations of homeland, nation, folk art and tradition. The works show just how much local identifications and global developments have been telescoped together for a long time now. They go beyond this, however, to ask – without any sense of romanticisation – how, under the current economic conditions, it could still be possible to imagine and implement an “artisanal” relationship between those working and the objects of their work. This approach not only goes beyond cultural boundaries but also creates a connection between analogue and digital worlds. 




Further information as well as picture material to download can be found at: Arts Crafts


Arts Crafts
Kunsthaus Graz, Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz
Opening: 14.11.2019, 7 pm