Wolfgang Knapp

Wolfgang Kapp. As a social and educational scientist and after graduating in Art/Visual Communication Wolfgang Knapp has been teaching and doing research (after 6 years teaching art education and stone-sculpture at Muenster University) since 1988 at Institute for Art in Context at Berlin University of the Arts. His main focus is in inter- and transdisciplinary research- and exhibition-projects on the interface of arts and sciences in international collaborations since 1995, art in migration contexts, cultural and social minorities in and media, image production in arts ind sciences as well as curatorial activities and publications. (e.g. „A touch of Security – Representations of Shelter and Protection in private and public Spheres”, Knapp, 1996; “Through Europe – In Berlin” (European Migrants) Knapp & Lindner, 2000; „open end – images about living of women and men with HIV/AIDS in South Afrika“, Georgen & Knapp & Welpe, 2004; „Missing Link – Art Meets Biomedicine”, Knapp & Wenzel & Froemmel & Schnalke, 2005);  „Menschenbild und Volksgesicht – Portrait Photography in NS-Germany“ Blask & Friedrich+ & Knapp; “ODER/ODRA – Europe at its Limits”, Blask & Keil & Knapp 2005; “Sensing the Street”, www.sensingthestreet.de“, Arteaga & Knapp & Lindner, 2008; “Istanbul – Berlin Globalization an Urban Connections in Urban Everyday Life” (Knapp & Knecht, & Soysal 2008).“ “Desire to die – Thinktank Suicide” / www.sterbenwollen.de, Blask & Knapp, 2010; Charité Berlin and NS Medicine – Concepts for a Memory Space Beddies & Knapp & Schnalke, since 2011; „Memorial against Homophobia“ UdK & LSVB, since 2013;

His projects and lectures led him to e.g.  China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Iran, Norway, Oman, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Syria, Turkey, UK and US; publications in English, Chinese, Dutch, German, Polish and Spanish language.

He is chairman of Commission for Advances Interdisciplinary Studies in Arts and Sciences at Berlin University oft he Arts (UdK).


The short contribution to the conference will focus on some historical and recent developments, approaches and decision-making processes in critical art practice (hopefully beyond a struggle for definitions).

Critical art is a phenomenon of self-interpretation in artistic practice in relation to groups, scenes, communities, societies: so first there must be the detection of e.g. social evils, political deficiencies in a specific local or global context. Then one has to proof to others or institutionalized procedures (e.g. juries, competitions, call for drafts) that one could make a qualified comment, statement or intervention as an artist. Then there is a decision of looking for which kind of funding one will chose. How to decide? How far one can dare to go in accepting money from city councils, political parties local and national government, or industrial funds, crowd funding? Where is the turning point between activism and being instrumentalized/exploited as a decorative squadron in public contexts?

And if one doen`t participate Aspects of artistic self-representation in context of critical art could be: self-exclusion strategies, labelling as a member of a minority, self-tribalization, self-sacrifice, self-victimisation, the artistic hero-self, the good and brave, but overlooked artist, CVs with a list of exclusions from exhibitions, beeing sentenced by law and trial, status as a dissident, member of NGOs, existence as an artist living in exile, transmigration, etc.

Despite these aspects, aren´t those labels as well parts, members, contributors to the same international art market? Critical art market needs fresh material as well! Doesn`t critical art face the risk to stick in an continuous interdependency of discovering deficits in society and artistic re-action in relation to these discoveries only as a quasi ritualized interaction?  Does critical art need the antagonist, the enemy, the evil ones? What will happen, if there is no one find? –Are artist forced to establish, to invent a next wave of critical artistic interaction? – Probably that is a way of acceptance and affirmation of the status quo in institutions, organisations, societies …