Actually, the Dead Are Not Dead: Una forma de ser

October 17, 2020 – July 11, 2021 (extended)

Gerd Arntz, Daniel Baker, Canciones de la guerra social contemporánea, Joy Charpentier, Ines Doujak, El Solitario / Francisco Lameyer, Toto Estirado, Flo 6x8, Robert Gabris, María García Ruiz, Gonzalo García-Pelayo, Israel Galván, Tony Gatlif, Helios Gómez, Francisco de Goya, Isaias Griñolo, Julio Jara, Hiwa K, Teresa Lanceta, Darcy Lange / Maria Snijders, Delaine Le Bas, Los Putrefactos, Máquinas de vivir, Ocaña, Otto Pankok, PEROU, Ragel, Pedro G. Romero, August Sander, Franz W. Seiwert, SEM/EN, Stalker, Ceija Stojka, Mario Maya y Teatro Gitano Andaluz, Luca Vitone, Rosario Weiss u.a.

María García und Pedro G. Romero


With Una forma de ser (A Form of Being or Life), the Württembergischer Kunstverein continues its exhibition series Actually, the Dead Are Not Dead, which goes back to the Bergen Assembly 2019 of the same name.

The exhibition from October 17, 2020, to July 11, 2021, (including pandemic-related closures) deals with the relationship between the feast and the political sphere. It examines the festival as a social and collective platform for emancipation and self-determination, and explores the aesthetic and poetic forms that have developed since the nineteenth century, particularly in the context of the subcultures of the Rom*nja, Flamencos, and Bohèmes. The festival as an aesthetic framework for the reversal of social relations (carnival) and the interpenetration of exuberance and rebellion, folklore and avant-garde, is explored not only historically, but especially in relation to the present.

It combines visual arts, music, and dance, as well as advanced arts since the nineteenth century, with cultural forms associated with folklore and popular art: Francisco de Goya with the multiple award-winning contemporary flamenco dancer Israel Galván; August Sander and his photographs of Cologne’s “Lumpenbälle” with the Spanish underground artist Ocaña; the modernist graphic artists Gerd Arntz and Helios Gómez with Ceija Stojka; nineteenth-century Andalusian bohemian culture with flamenco taught to new music.

The curators of the exhibition, María García Ruiz and Pedro G. Romero, have for decades been exploring the world of flamenco and the relationship between stereotyping, romanticizing, and the exclusion of European Rom*nja. Yet they continue to point out the crucial role that the Rom*nja and other marginalized groups have played in the development of the avant-garde. Flamenco actually emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in the urban environment of the Rom*nja, bohemians, and the so-called “lumpenproletariat” of the suburbs of Seville and other Andalusian cities: as a counter-movement to an emerging folklorism in Andalusia at the time.

This modern, avant-garde artistic manifestation was first described by Serafín Estébanez Calderón in 1838 in his text Asamblea General (General Assembly). What Calderón essentially observes here is a series of kris, the political assemblies of the Andalusian Rom*nja where the communities of Malaga, Cádiz, and Seville settled their affairs and disputes, and which always went hand in hand with a festival.  
This text, as well as one of the works that Francisco Lameyer, an artist close to Goya, realized for it, is the starting point of the exhibition, along with the series Los Disparates by Francisco de Goya himself: a series of gloomy, carnivalesque, and grotesque scenarios with a variety of allusions to the political situation at the time. From here, the exhibition with works by artists such as Delaine Le Bas, Robert Gabris, and Teresa Lanceta extends all the way to contemporary art.

An important local reference is the Stuttgart Vagabond Congress, convened in 1929 by Gregor Gog and held not far from the then newly built Weissenhof Estate on the Killesberg in Stuttgart. As early as 1982, the Württembergischer Kunstverein and other art institutions had already taken up the subject of this congress and its background in the context of the exhibition Wohnsitz: Nirgendwo (Residence: Nowhere). In 2014, Theater Rampe in Stuttgart dedicated a reenactment to it.  

Against the background of the current experiences of lockdown and social distancing, the thematical field of the exhibition has expanded and recontextualized: after all, parties are the epitome of social and physical proximity. Furthermore, certain social groups, such as the Rom*nja, have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, and their social exclusion, which has long existed, is now even worse. In this respect, the exhibition also negotiates the implications of spatial politics.

Under the title Una forma de ser, the curators are concerned with negotiating the communities of the Rom*nja, Flamencos, and Bohèmes beyond identity politics with regard to forms and strategies of political subjectivation. Images of the self, images of the other, and their warped appropriation generate a series of tensions that are almost impossible to resolve, but which can perhaps contribute to a differentiated examination of these images.

A brochure will be published to accompany the exhibition. The planned discourse, performance, and mediation program will take place online and/or on site in accordance with pandemic developments. Already in the context of the first exhibition in the series, which was interrupted and extended due to the pandemic, the Kunstverein has initiated a Shutdown Program that will explore the questions and themes of the project in greater depth in various online formats.

Comprehensive informationen on the project, works and contexts


Schlossplatz 2
D-70173 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0)711 - 22 33 70
Fax: +49 (0)711-22 33 791
Una forma de ser
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart