The title of the exhibition "Tilting at Windmills" is inspired by El ingenioso hidalgo DonQuijote de la Mancha (1605–1615) by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quijote applies laws, rules, and moral conceptions from chivalric stories in everyday life, using them to make judgments and to decide on his course of action. He convinces Sancho Panza to join him in his fight against injustice and evil in the world. Although Sancho Panza is aware that Don Quijote’s conceptions have no basis in reality, he still follows his vision—he has been promised an island in return for his loyalty. The tale of Don Quijote is one of literature’s best-known examples of a story centred on the adaptation and communication of alternative or imaginary worldviews.
Since we live in an era marked by profound changes, established reference systems guiding our way of living, thinking and behaving, are being fundamentally called into question. They must be reinvented and defined anew, along with established conventions and inherited social roles. One of art’s central qualities is its potential to imagine and discuss alternative models and visions.
"Tilting at Windmills" features artists whose work reflects and analyses how new narratives must thus be interpreted in changed circumstances and contexts. They look for new forms of meaning and ask what influence these may have on our conception of ourselves and the constitution of “individual reality.” How are new criteria of order to be discovered and then instituted?
Since language, whether written or spoken, plays a significant role, both in ascribing meaning and in reinterpreting individual images, image sequences, and installations, it is also an important medium to playfully reflect on for the artists invited.
Furthermore the notion of fiction and illusion becomes a recurring theme. In this context the concept of escapism is an important motif, in terms of a withdrawal from given normative systems and rules in favour of potential alternatives. In turning to the design of alternative and fantastical world views, their artworks either have a partly sentimental and melancholic tone or, by contrast, are bursting with confidence and curiosity: optimistic, energetic, and powerful.
Roberta is a project space set in a private apartment. In all previous exhibitions, there was an attempt to disguise the specific features of a private home in order to create the illusion of a neutral presentational space. However, for "Tilting at Windmills", the private rooms with their characteristic features become the setting, reorganized by Adriana Lara for installations by other artists invited.
Special thanks to the artists, Satis&fy, Yok-Yok and Saskia Randt and MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main.