The Middelheim Museum and American artist Sharon Lockhart (b. 1964) offer a remarkable message to visitors and passers-by, presenting a recent light sculpture on the façade of the historic Middelheim Castle. The illuminated statement that comprises the work, 'The Future Should Always Be Better', can be read as either a prophecy, a wish, a call to action, or perhaps all these at once. But who is to say what is ‘better’?
The sentence reflects an ambivalence that the artist identifies as a sign of the times. "The inevitability of the future has a certain relentlessness. During much of the twentieth century, humanity considered the future as a hopeful place where obstacles were overcome and inequities erased, where technology and social will would solve the great problems. As we enter the twenty-first century, much of that optimism seems naive. We are faced with the very real possibility that the future holds no place for humanity. In this world, merely holding up the idea of a common future is a life-affirming act of strength. This piece is both a proposition and a question. How will we engage the coming times and what will they hold for us?" (Sharon Lockhart, 2021)
The exhibition in Antwerp is the second venue for 'The Future Should Always Be Better'. Initially conceived for the façade of the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover, Germany, the work was commissioned by the institution’s director Adam Budak as a means of engaging with the gallery’s public during its lockdown-related closure in early 2021. With its presentation in Belgium, the Middelheim Museum and the artist continue to share a message of radical hope for our collective fate.
Curator: Pieter Boons
Realized with the kind support of neugerriemschneider (Berlin) and the Kestner Gesellschaft (Hannover).
Thanks to Adam Budak, Robert Knoke, Dylan Lustrin, Burkhard Riemschneider & Sharon Lockhart
Courtesy of the artist, neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Gladstone Gallery
Artists: Sharon Lockhart