Anne Imhof merges visual art, architecture, and choreography into works that engage all the senses at once. She draws inspiration from a wealth of cultural history, spanning everything from Greek mythology and Romanticism to nihilism and today’s underground cultures. Imhof explores contemporary themes such as hyper-individualism and loneliness, desire and greed, saturation, and the fear of missing out—and why they emerge today. Imhof’s works defy singular interpretation and always set out to evoke multiple associations and emotions simultaneously.
For this exhibition, Imhof has constructed a dystopian underworld in the form of a complex labyrinth of lockers, water tanks, car tires, and a myriad of other objects. The confines of the labyrinth allude to the constraints of social structures, and to the anxieties and claustrophobic feelings these can arouse. The exhibition also references issues of identity and body dysmorphia. An avatar appears at various points along the narrow passages, possibly to show the visitor the way out, or perhaps roaming the passages in a similar state of disorientation.
The exhibition was initially meant to debut at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, but in response to the war in Ukraine, it immediately suspended its entire program. The preparations for this unrealized exhibition inform the show at the Stedelijk. YOUTH is a reference to a stage of life marked by both uncertainty and potential, with the exhibition’s own history bearing witness to the disenchantment that can follow. The resulting installation immerses visitors in an overwhelming experience that triggers all the senses, inducing an almost physical urge to escape.
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
October 1, 2022 – January 29, 2023
The exhibition is a co-presentation of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Hartwig Art Foundation
YOUTH and AI Winter courtesy of the artist, Galerie Buchholz & Sprüth Magers
produced with the support of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Hartwig Art Foundation and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam