Darren Bader – The Vagrant


Darren Bader

The Vagrant, (undated)

One-channel video, 13:32 min.

Courtesy of the artist, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo



We are thrilled to share the Darren Bader video that appeared in Art Basel’s Art Unlimited section in June last year. In The Vagrant, Darren Bader appropriates the popular form of the cartoon and engages the viewer in a wacky journey, imagining the future development of outer space sculptures.


Contemporary issues, such as representative democracy, globalization, decision making processes, and how the public or individual citizens respond to such forms of governing are tackled in his work. In particular, the UN scene at the beginning, in which a grievous end to the final general assembly seems at once disastrous and prosperous in the announcement of the “all humankind initiative”. The video parodies voting systems and questions the role of the artist, their work, and the modes of presentation or display their work can bear. The exhibition space is transported to outer space, art thus becomes accessible to all people of the world. The tongue-in-cheek proposal of imagining how future realms of art could materialize, and by who, is metaphorical and conceptually poignant.


This video is currently part of the group exhibition Political Populism, on view at the Kunsthalle Wien through 7 February 2016.


Political Populism is the extremely populist title for an exhibition which plays with the power of words; the promise of a simple premise that, in truth, stretches far beyond the limits of its boundaries. In this sense, the title employs the precise rhetoric of many populist parties, however the exhibition itself seeks to undermine this through content: the wide-ranging articulation of issues and responses associated with the complex and contested concept of populism in the political and thereby social realm. The exhibition brings together a variety of international artistic reflections on different populist forces at work today and aims to critically question this phenomenon through artistic means. Both playful and serious, subtle and provocative, the works can be viewed as a commentary on the subject, a subversive second level, an analysis, or a footnote. Above all, they reveal how omnipresent political populism has become.


Political Populism includes works by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Saâdane Afif, Darren Bader, Keren Cytter, Simon Denny, Christian Falsnaes, Evgeny Granilshchikov, Flaka Haliti, Rosemary Heather, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Anna Jermolaewa, Johanna Kandl, Erik van Lieshout, Minouk Lim, Goshka Macuga, Jumana Manna, Mián Mián, Marcel Odenbach, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen, Hito Steyerl and Jun Yang. It is curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen, with the assistance of Juliane Bischoff and Eleanor Taylor.

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