We are living in a time of contradiction characterized by fundamental changes. Technological development is advancing so rapidly that we hardly have time to consider how it is affecting our lives. Before long, artificial intelligence is expected to surpass human intelligence, and it is said that the first person who will live to the age of two hundred has already been born. At the same time, man is well on the way to destroying the conditions for life here on Earth. Our lifestyle contributes to the extinction of plants and animals, while the green-house effect is in the process of making large areas of the planet uninhabitable.
Looking ahead to try to understand the ongoing changes, what awaits us and the generations that follow us, provokes emotional reactions—perhaps now more than ever. We are entering into a new era of challenges that will have both global and local consequences, affecting whole societies as well as individuals. The point of departure for the exhibition Shapeshifters is this transitional phase, and it explores the possibility of using art to help us try to make sense of what lies ahead. What conceptions do we have of the future, and how can we relate to the changes that are in store for us?
The title of the exhibition, Shapeshifters, is borrowed from the world of mythology. A shapeshifter has the ability to be subsumed into a completely different being, thereby changing both form and attributes. In myths, gods transform humans into animals, plants, and objects, often to punish them or to set them free. In our time, it is no longer the gods that are responsible for shaping and transforming the world. We humans have taken their place, and our actions are recreating the world, human societies, and ourselves.
The works on view in the exhibition have been selected from the collection of Malmö Konstmuseum, and primarily its collection of work from our own time. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to a number of new acquisitions. In addition, the show includes a few works on loan from the artists, galleries, and collectors in order to provide additional perspectives.