The economic crisis faced by the world today is not only extensive and multifaceted, but its implications for our future are profound. Animal Spirits is not a typical exhibition, but rather a selection of artworks meant to provoke criticism on our current social dilemma.
Animal Spirits references a concept coined by the British economist John Maynard Keynes, who argued in his 1936 book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, that “animal spirits”—emotional factors that cannot be modeled or quantified, and are thus often played down by economists —are in fact very important to the understanding of economic dynamics. Keynes believed that business cycles are driven by basic instincts. Operating on the basis of trust, confidence, desire for fairness, bad faith, and awareness of corruption, these instincts can generate spontaneous optimism or corrosive pessimism. Using the same Keynesian language in 2008, Italian social researcher Matteo Pasquinelli drew a provocative, conceptual bestiary unleashing a politically incorrect grammar for the coming generation.
The collection gathered in the Slaughterhouse on Hydra summons some of those “animal spirits” in order to reflect the leaps of faith, politics of trust, social bestiaries, blind confidence, spreading fear, and distorted meaning of positivism emerging in our world today. These drawings are in dialogue with each other but also with the architecture that houses them, its atmosphere, and traces of all past activities, conjuring multiple narratives. The artwork in this show embodies a Keynesian dynamic, drawing on “animal spirits” to provoke social commentary and urgent acknowledgment of the looming crisis.