Recently I visited the actual NGBK’s exhibition, that reflects on the social topic of oldness, or old age, or getting older under the title “Ein Leben lang / All your life”. The exhibition grouped international and generation-wide artists, mostly working with the documentary aspect of photography or installation. It wasn’t a thunderstruck topic, as it has been subject to much discussion, medial attention and societal consideration these last decades, but it was as a set, a visually interesting show, that also fed my actual eagerness of seeing art exhibitions.
Some photographic works got my attention, unfortunately Peter Granser’s Sun City serie of photographs of the well-known American pensioners city had a unfortunate feeling of déjà-vu, but Canadian artist Donigan Cumming and his photographic work Pretty Ribbon depicts an astonishing mention of strangeness and eccentricity of the documented protagonist. Posing in her interior, staging her old, almost inert body in unusual situations, this obviously tired body shifted into disconcerting beauty, that sometimes remembered the documentary Grey Gardens.
Through the exhibition, I remembered an early lecture of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Coming of Age, an obligatory passage for my philosophy class that kept me detached and almost insensitive, in other words, too young. For sure, I thought, once I will try to read it again but I hardly managed to go further than the bookmarks I inserted when I was 16. I may have now some consideration about ageing, but then mainly concerned with an elderly acquaintance or relative and a general fear of syndromes that now have names, in other words, it is not the getting older that scares me but the the decrepit of a mind and its death. This paranoid status alongside the syndrome of getting old was not really depicted by the artists, but the potential of the exhibition also resided in this position.