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Πόλεμος πάντων μὲν πατήρ ἐστι, πάντων δὲ βασιλεύς.
War is the father of all and king of all;
and some he shows as gods, others as men,
some he makes slaves, others free.


Weapons and jewellery are more connected to each other than most people think; metallurgy and goldsmithing, two crafts developed in Copper Age Europe, contributed to establishing social hierarchies. In archaic societies, weapons and jewellery are objects guaranteeing real or talismanic protection and reflecting prestige and power. Possessing knowledge, wisdom, kindness - immaterial assets praised by innumerable myths and doctrines in all cultures - can, nevertheless, turn any leader mastering the art of war and magic into a pacifist or ascete!

The exhibition project Polemos focuses on and examines rituals, symbols, objects and practices connected to real or symbolical conflicts and battles – past or present.
Participants present jewellery and videos inspired by WW II and the post-war division of Europe, communism and Cold War, militarism, the dramatic consequences of Korean war, the massacre of innocent civilians in the Greek town of Distomo, social control and suppression, decoration and depression, religion as a destructive force, patriotism and disillusioned heroes, the inescapable environmental trap of our lifestyle, passive resistance and active hope, family oppression, humiliation and gender conflict; works also focus on faith, forgiveness and gratitude as the antidote to hate and nihilism.

True stories lie behind most of the artworks exhibited; and for many participants, the process of creating these ornaments and objects became a personal catharsis.

The year 2020 commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II when civilization resisted barbarism. This is reason enough to choose the topic of war for our Schmuck show. The war and refugee inferno in the Middle East, as well as the increasing brutality in all aspects of daily life in our (so-called) civilized world gives us reason to ask ourselves: Is our way of living indeed war-proof or is the safe shelter we have worked hard to build just an illusion?

Concept and curation:

Christoph Ziegler and Loukia Richards alias ZLR Betriebsimperium


The City of Munich for its support, to Rudolf Becker for hosting the exhibition at WELTRAUM gallery and to all artists participating in POLEMOS!

© ZLR Betriebsimperium 2020