The Optimised Human
The Optimised Human
Moments of Industrial Heritage in the Visual Arts
12/12/2019 — 01/03/2020
The art exhibition “The Optimised Human. Moments of Industrial Heritage in the Visual Arts” at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig is a local contribution to the “Saxon Year of Industrial Heritage 2020”. The exhibition focuses on how advances in technology have affected people’s lives since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. It will feature 39 selected artworks from the museum’s collection and loans from contemporary artists – preferably from Saxony – that highlight the individual relationships between humankind, technology and society as a whole over the course of these industrial upheavals. The underlying idea is to attribute to the visual arts a catalytic function through its ability to uncover various facets of the industrial revolutions. The works range from heroic depictions to complex criticism of capitalism. A blend of pieces from past eras, including numerous exhibits that have rarely been shown in public so far, reveal similarities and differences between the respective industrial eras, based on how they portray their individual periods. Moreover, this enables a comparison of how artistic and aesthetic appreciations responded to directly experienced technical progress, revealing some parallels and overlaps with questions relating to our current world and future development. Entitled “The Optimised Human”, the exhibition consciously addresses a controversially debated theme within current societal and academic discourse, thus visualising its roots in the early days of industrialisation, as well as providing a nuanced platform upon which to ponder human-machine relationships and their ramifications. The exhibition will also feature an extensive supporting programme with guided tours, lectures and a blog with additional background information on the works and the artists.