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Tidalectics Stick Chart, TBA21–Academy, 2017.

TBA21–Academy is an itinerant site of cultural production and interdisciplinary research initiated by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. Conceived by Markus Reymann in 2011 with the aim to deepen our understanding of and relationship to the oceans, TBA21–Academy is delighted to announce the opening of its first exhibition, Tidalectics, on Friday, June 2 in Vienna. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the first-ever United Nations’ Ocean Conference, held in New York from June, 5-9.

Tidalectics presents thirteen artists whose distinctive works cast oceanic perspectives on the cultural, political, and biological dimensions of the oceans, examining the effects of human-made predicaments, such as climate change and sea-level rise, while reimagining human and “more-than-human” relationships. The exhibition features nine newly commissioned works, many flowing from the Academy’s expeditions in the Pacific Ocean, alongside exceptional pieces from the TBA21 collection. It will be accompanied by a series of spoken word-performances every Friday on the TBA21–Ephemeropteræ stage in Augarten, episodes from a Tidalectics radio series in collaboration with NTS Radio, as well as a comprehensive publication.

TBA21 chairwoman Francesca von Habsburg: “I have committed the work of TBA21 to the most pressing topics of today, not only in a descriptive fashion but by taking the language of art to concrete actions and solution finding. It’s a turning point for the foundation as it increasingly looks at becoming an agent of change. We need to make peace with the oceans.”

Tidalectics is an oceanic worldview, a different way of engaging with the oceans and the world we inhabit. Unbound by land-based modes of thinking and living, the exhibition is reflective of the rhythmic fluidity of water and the incessant swelling and receding of the tides.

Taking its title from a play on words by the celebrated Barbadian poet-historian Kamau Braithwaite, Tidalectics seeks to comprehend our histories as trajectories tossed by waves, from ocean crossings to systems of exchange, myths, and microbial origins. The exhibition highlights processes of cultural adaptation and material change, presenting a rich framework for understanding the coalescing polarities of contemporaneity and history, science and poetics, routes and roots, and ourselves—mostly land-dwelling humans—with the oceans and their many and diverse inhabitants.


Atif Akin, Darren Almond, Julian Charrière, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Tue Greenfort, Ariel Guzik, Newell Harry, Alexander Lee, Eduardo Navarro, Sissel Tolaas, Janaina Tschäpe & David Gruber, Jana Winderen and Susanne M. Winterling

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)
Scherzergasse 1A
1020 Vienna   |  Austria



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