Freedom of speech is one of the key issues in the current public debate and one that is becoming increasingly contested, given the steady erosion of civil liberties in many countries today. Denmark has always been at the forefront of the public debate on issues in relation to freedom of speech, but it has also suffered the so-called “trauma of free speech”.
This makes the Danish Pavilion an appropriate vehicle from which to visualise and discuss these issues. Freedom of speech is highly relevant in relation to much of what is happening in the world politically today; from press intimidation and censorship, to restrictions on the internet, as well as debates on the limits of freedom of speech, increased surveillance and forms of control. The issue of freedom of speech is highly complex, often subjective – even relative – and invariably debatable. The boundaries surrounding it cannot easily be delineated.
The exhibition Speech Matters aims to provoke a considered debate and to complicate the issue of freedom of speech, highlighting the intricacies, ambiguities and grey areas inherent to the subject, and emphasizing the fact that freedom of speech cannot be exercised or applied in any programmatic or strictly proscribed manner. Finally, the exhibition also touches on the essence of visual artistic practice, which fundamentally entails conditions of freedom of expression. Eighteen artists from ten countries have been invited to participate. The majority will be producing new work for the exhibition.
The exhibition is curated by Katerina Gregos.