A solo exhibition by Oliver Ressler
Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo – CAAC, Seville
This solo exhibition by Oliver Ressler (Knittelfeld, Austria, 1970) brings together 11 projects from the past 13 years, produced using various media including multi-channel video installation, film, photography, slide installation, posters and wall text. All the works in the show are connected by a specific focus on occupation, a theme Ressler has explored extensively in recent years, following political struggles and social movements around the world. The title – We will beg for nothing, we will ask for nothing. We will take, we will occupy – is taken from a Situationist graffito that appeared in Paris during the events of May 1968.
For Ressler the relevance of these various forms of occupation extends beyond the specific local contexts they discuss: it is also a matter of the occupation of a possibility for the future. Archiving political events not only documents them, but also generates tools for coming struggles for a better future.
Following Jean-Luc Godard, Ressler’s films can be described as “blackboard films”, produced from an authentic pedagogical standpoint. Each of his films is a sort of manual of dissenting techniques to be taught and learned. Ressler’s projects analyse the capitalist system with a particular interest in forms of resistance and socio-economic alternatives. Protagonists of social movements are often directly involved.
This survey show at the CAAC, part of the Archive Sickness exhibition series, offers a critical reflection on today’s complex political, economic and social situation. Confronting the systemic crisis of capitalism, the artist presents, documents and archives alternative systems of governance and organization. Thus the Seville exhibition explores several pivotal themes: workers’ self-management in Latin America and Europe, the emergence of social movements spawned by the latest economic crisis of capitalism (including Spain’s 15M movement), practices in environmental activism and the alter-globalisation movement.
This is not the first time that Oliver Ressler has exhibited at the CAAC. He participated in the 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville/ BIACS (2006) and in the exhibition Without Reality There Is No Utopia (2011). He has also taken part in group shows at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and La Casa Encendida in Madrid. This exhibition at the CAAC is the most comprehensive overview of Ressler’s artistic practice to date in Spain.
We will beg for nothing, we will ask for nothing. We will take, we will occupy is part of a cycle of solo exhibitions by Oliver Ressler in four European institutions, presenting different focuses on his work. The book Cartographies of Protest is published as a collaborative production of the four participating institutions.
 Marco Scotini, “Oliver Ressler: ‘Blackboard’ Cinema and the capitalistic regime of enunciation”, in: Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes, Marius Babias, Emanuele Guidi, Stella Rollig (Eds.), Oliver Ressler: Cartographies of Protest (Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2014), p.15