Our inheritance was left to us by no testament

12 November - 19 December 2020

A prelude to the gallery’s 12-month programme 'On Hannah Arendt', launching January 2021, this exhibition looks to the preface of the political philosopher’s 1968 publication Between Past and Future, which opens with an aphorism by the French poet René Char: “Notre héritage n'est précédé d'aucun testament,” or as Arendt translates, "our inheritance was left to us by no testament." For Arendt, this sentence illustrates the situation in which European people were left after the end of the Second World War, in a gap between past and future, a period of lost freedoms and deep existential questioning, where the threads of tradition were inextricably broken.


Taking this quote as a point of departure, the group exhibition ‘Our inheritance was left to us by no testament’ looks to the work of seven women artists from Eastern Europe whose personal histories or cultural backgrounds necessitated a reconceptualization of tradition and created fertile ground for innovation in contemporary art through the breaking of conceptual boundaries and experiments in materiality and form. The exhibition speaks to possibilities in art without testament, without tradition, situated and grown out of particular moments in history and the individual narrative of each exhibited artist.


Featuring work by Alina SZAPOCZNIKOW, Barbara LEVITTOUX-ŚWIDERSKA, Renate BERTLMANN, Běla KOLÁŘOVÁ, Jagoda BUIĆ, Jolanta OWIDZKA and Erna ROSENSTEIN, the exhibition includes a mixture of paintings, works on paper, tapestry, sculpture and mixed media assemblages from the 1960s to the 1980s.