The Beast is the Sovereign

“Profanation” as an artistic and “queer” practice

Arbeit von Ocana, Foto: Hans D. Christ / WKV

How do processes of profanation work? What happens when they are consciously shaped? Things become profane when they are taken out of their religious context and used in a way that ignores or contradicts their sacredness, thus appearing “inappropriate”. Acts of profanation aim to transcend established, seemingly sacrosanct orders, categories and values. Applying the term of religion in its broadest sense, the project focused on artistic works and performative practices by international artists who question established norms with regard to sex and gender, ethnicity and class, and consciously use them “inappropriately”. Another group of works examined “queer”, non-conformist methods of appropriating religious practices and iconography – not as a blasphemous gesture, but rather in the sense of probing a profane, individualistic treatment with the sacred. Other artists explored the relationship between religion and economy, the holy and the monetary. The works also focused on knowledge-oriented institutions and biopolitics along with their sacred spaces, classifications and forms of presentation. The project organisers have developed a design for the exhibition rooms at the Württembergischen Kunstverein and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) which created a profanation of the “white cube” venue.

Artistic director: Iris Dressler
Curators: Hans D. Christ, Valentin Roma (ES), Beatriz Preciado (ES)
Artists: Edgar Endress (CL), Oier Etxeberria (ES), Leon Ferrari (AR), Geumhyung Jeong (KR), Julya Montilla (ES), Ocaña (ES), Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (GB), Wu Tsang (US), Sergio Zevallos (PE) and others


Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Schlossplatz 2

70173 Stuttgart (external link, opens in a new window)