Unstable Territory. Borders and identity in contemporary art, curated by Walter Guadagnini and Franziska Nori, showcases work by international artists which will encourage visitors to reconsider the notion of territory in a contemporary world. Whilst the latter is increasingly characterised by the obsolescence of such concepts as the nation state and borders, there is, at the same time, a return to new forms of nationalism and renewed interest in the individual in relation to a specific area or community.
The astonishing development of mobility for both people and goods, the digitisation of communication and knowledge, migration and an increasingly global economy have all radically changed people’s perception of territories, borders and boundaries. In view of the instability of these concepts crucial to the definition of personal identity, two different –though not necessarily conflicting – trends appear to be taking shape: one based on seeking shelter in the safety and proximity of the micro-territory, the region or even the family; the other, as theorised by sociologist Ulrich Beck, involving a new conception of cosmopolitanism in its most democratic and egalitarian sense.
What does it mean when we talk about “territory” today? The term does not simply refer to a geographical or spatial area, it also refers to a concept of social and cultural belonging and extends into the personal, psychological and mental sphere. The works in this exhibition reflect different approaches, lifestyles and ways of perceiving the unstable relationship between identity, territory and borders in an age of great expectations (and illusions) regarding a borderless society, a shared global territory. Photographs, videos and installations spark reflections on the notion of the border as discovery or barrier, on the hybridisation between cosmopolitism and territorial claims, on the figure of the artist himself as traveller, nomad or experimenter teetering on the edge of physical and symbolic territories.