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Future Bodies from a Recent Past—Sculpture, Technology, and the Body since the 1950s

fünf mechanische Hände aus Metall, die verschiedene Gesten zeigen

“Future Bodies from a Recent Past” brings to life a hitherto little-noticed phenomenon in art and sculpture in particular: the reciprocal interpenetration of body and technology. With works by around 60 artists—primarily from Europe, the USA and Japan—the exhibition is dedicated to the major technological changes since the post-war period and takes a look at their influence on our ideas of bodies. The exhibition is a journey through materials, forms, and modes of expression in sculpture, which has changed more in the last 70 years than probably ever before in its long history.

Exhibition info




ca. 90 minutes

Curated by

Patrizia Dander, Franziska Linhardt

About the exhibition

The human body is permeated and shaped by external influences. The significant impact that rapid mechanization has had and will have on our bodies in the future is as obvious as it is unforeseeable. Networking with technological devices in an increasingly virtualized world, but also technical “optimizations” of body and mind have long since become reality. They stand for a new understanding of the human being, but also for the concern about its control or even replaceability. The exhibition “Future Bodies from a Recent Past” is dedicated to this tension.
In contemporary art, the close relationship between body and technology is clearly visible. Yet this relationship can also be traced back far into the 20th century, as a hitherto little-noticed history of art, and sculpture in particular. With around 120 works by international artists, the exhibition presents for the first time a structured frame of reference for this narrative of sculpture from the postwar period to the present. In doing so, it explores the following questions: How has the relationship between humans and technology changed since the 1950s? Can the boundaries still be clearly drawn, or have we already become one with our technological environments? How have notions of bodies, corporeality and materiality changed in the process? And how do artists reflect technological upheavals and their social effects in their works?

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In preparation for the exhibition, a three-day online symposium was held in January 2021. Leading theorists from various disciplines outlined a multi-perspective history of sculpture since the 1950s. Recordings of all contributions and more information about the symposium can be found here.


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