When we talk about the fictitious nature of historic narrative one must not loose track of the fact that it (history) happened, it affected people's lives but that, perhaps, one way of coming closer to understanding the nuggets of the truth at the center of it, is by working it through in a slighly fictional way, that by insisting on documentary facts and rating statistic, you don't come closer to what really means to humans...storytelling is so profoundly human, it is something we do, we do tell stories everyday, every minute. [Achim Borchardt-Hume on Walid Raad, the Atlas Group and the use of fictional storytelling and historic narrative].
When we talk about globalization today, very often the terms used are connected to the free flow of capital across the world, it has to do with trades and going beyond the borders...but I wonder actually wheter there is a different kind of globalization which has to do with the interconnectedness of our histories...and to me it is quite an important dimension to understand where we are in this world now. [ABH]
To be modern is to experience personal and social life as a maelstrom to find one's world and oneself in perpetual disintegration and renewal, troubles, anguish, ambiguity and contradiction; to be part of a universe in which all that is solid melts into the air. Autenticity in modern time is bound up with a radical rejection of things as they are, it is a trigger for a critique of the status quo; to be modern means to be authentic where this means to be able to change and resist. [Marshall Berman]
In The politics of authenticity Marshall Berman pointed out how the notion of authenticity in modern time is bound up with a radical rejection of things as they are, with a climate of personal and social renewal, ambiguity, contradiction, with a season, the modernity, in which all that is solid melts into air. To be modern means to be authentic then, in terms of being able to change and resist whitin the unstable process of the historical flow.
Said that and taking into account the list of artists Achim Borchardt-Hume - curator at the Whitechapel Gallery in London [author’s note: at TATE MODERN since 2012] - has devoted his attention to in the last few years, from Joseph Albers, Laszlo Moholy Nagy, and Mark Rothko, to Doris Salcedo, Mona Hatoum and Walid Raad, we asked him how the intersections and frictions between authenticity, freedom and politics have informed the artistic practice since the modernist avaguards to the youngest generation of artists and how their political and ethical dimension has changed in step with the utopian nature of art.
Coming to the yougest generation of artists, we could almost trace a common path in the way history, private and public memory come back together in their practice. We asked the curator whether this reevaluation process of history is the symptom of a wider and social openess and interest toward our past and its controversies.
Shifting to the curatorial practise, as Chus Martinez says, the best aerobics for the brain is to see exhibitions, we asked Achim Borchardt-Hume whether he does agree with this statement and what kind of experience he expects an exhibit to trigger.
At the end of our conversation we talked about forms of collecting. Over the last year, the Whitechapel Gallery in London has displayed more that sixty works from the Dimitri Daskalopoulos' private collection. We talked about risks and potentialities of the private-public relationship, about autonomy, network of connections and we asked him the reason why a public gallery, such as the Whitechapel turns to a private collection.
We met Achim Borchardt-Hume in Florence. With Barbara Gordon of the Hirshhorn Museum-Smithsonian Institution and Adam Szymczyk, director of the Kunsthall Basel, he was in the jury of the 2011 Emerging Talents Prize, held by the Strozzina Contemporary Art Center in Florence.