Complexity in Arts and Sciences

11 September – 15 December 2012

Thomas Feuerstein - Parliament

Thomas Feuerstein, Parliament, 2012, © Thomas Feuerstein, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


The whirlwind of crisis summits just won’t stop. Currencies are floundering, climates changing. Governments, societies and the arts are increasingly being confronted with multi-faceted, complex problems. Simple solutions no longer work. Stability is on the decrease; unpredictability and chaos are on the rise.

In the sciences, chaos and inconsistency are considered just as important and acceptable as normal and linear behavior. Especially for complex systems such as cell structure, the immune system, fertility rates of animals, but also for the weather and the economy, non-linearity and chaotic behavior are characteristic. Many scientists are convinced that these different systems are based on similar basic principles. A possible approach to overcoming complicated global challenges is the relatively recent study of complexity. It uses computer simulation as well as physical and mathematical methodology to comprehend phenomena that arise with the concurrence of many factors.

The study of complexity shows multidimensional systems in a dynamic interconnectedness and in doing so replaces unequivocal results with possible scenarios. The focus of observation shifts to interdependency and probabilities take the place of certain findings. At instable junctures, small changes to initial situations can lead to massive variations. Characteristic for complex systems is the fact that the whole turns out to be more than the sum of its parts.

Does our evolutionary heritage allow us to think in complex terms, to accept uncertainties and make use of various systems of thinking simultaneously? How does complex thought express itself? How do the fine arts depict complexity? Do they open our eyes to complex correlations? These are some of the questions that are raised in the exhibition and accompanying program, which presents eight artistic perspectives that deal with the study of complexity in the form of installations, drawings and the new media.


Thomas Feuerstein, Christoph Keller, Mark Lombardi, Jenny Michel, Paidia Institute, Wolfgang Stehle, George Steinmann, Mark Wallinger

Mark Lombardi - Global International Airways

Mark Lombardi, Global International Airways, © Mark Lombardi, Courtesy Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin

Wolfgang Stehle - Giant’s Causeway

Wolfgang Stehle, Giant’s Causeway, © Wolfgang Stehle



Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue, EUR 2,00
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