Tony Cokes | Fragments, or just Moments | Haus der Kunst and Kunstverein München
Fragments, or just Moments marks the first institutional solo exhibition of U.S.-American artist TONY COKES in Germany and the first comprehensive collaboration between Haus der Kunst and Kunstverein München.
Cokes takes the historical connection between the two venues located in close proximity as a point of departure to present the newly commissioned work Some Munich Moments 1937−1972 (2022), which is shown both in the two institutions and in the public space situated between them. Drawing from archival source materials, the video investigates the interlinked history of both exhibition venues during the Nazi era and beyond. Some Munich Moments 1937−1972 thus relates the cultural propaganda strategies of the Nazi regime to the visual identity of the 1972 Munich Olympics, which had been coded in direct opposition as “anti-fascist” and “cosmopolitan."
The new commission Some Munich Moments 1937–1972 is also installed at Kunstverein München and within public space, where text and sound from the work are presented in the pedestrian subway at the south end of the English Garden and on the fence of the American Embassy.
For more than three decades, in his artistic practice, Tony Cokes has explored the political ideologies of media and pop culture and its impact on society, becoming one of the most important, post-conceptual artists to emerge in recent times. Grounded in the experience of the visual exploitation of African American communities in film, television, advertising, and music videos, Cokes has developed a unique language for video essays since the late 1990s that vehemently rejects representative imagery. The artist’s fast-moving audiovisual works are based on found text fragments and pop music, stemming from different times and contexts. Through the constant friction between the discursive and disparate cultural references, Cokes alters conventional forms of perception to trace historical continuities. The act of reading discourses on structural racism, capitalism, warfare, and gentrification becomes an interlaced, bodily and public experience.