07 April–03 September 2023

Cape Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France | Website

When pandemics, heat waves and forest fires make the
impending ecological apocalypse tangible; when alarmed
warnings by specialists of all stripes are widely broadcast
by the media and Hollywood blockbusters; when fever-pitch
geopolitical tensions escalate just as the world’s greatest
democracies are wracked with social turmoil — saying that
our times present us with nothing but harbingers of doom
would be an understatement.

Faced with the consequences of a past whose teachings
we struggle to assimilate, and a looming fate which
threatens to overwhelm us, we are collectively stuck in the
rut of a present haunted with the paradoxical images of
futureless prospects.

Antéfutur, however, formulates the hypothesis that
other scenarios are possible. Indeed, future is not only the
sum of the events that may or may not come to be — it lies,
in truth, at the heart of “now” as the representation we
make of ourselves. Since the dawn of time, art itself has
been a crucible for representations of the future,
influencing and transforming our own expectations.
To the dark visions that have grown out of a seemingly
unavoidable catastrophe, many contemporary artists
oppose diversionary scenarios and parallel worlds, fusing
past and present, hybridising traditional and cutting-edge
materials, rethinking our biological bodies in relation to
technological avatars… By taking these impending changes
seriously, they have, in crisis, found cause for opportunity.
Working across a wide range of mediums — from the most
traditional to the most advanced —, and through a variety of
echoing or divergent approaches, the artists gathered for
this exhibition cast a keenly critical eye on ecosystems that
owe their existence to sociologically and ecologically
impactful mechanisms — the systematic development of
cutting-edge technology and rampant globalisation of
market economy.

The artists demonstrate that civilisational change, that
we for now merely endure, demands of us a matching
change in outlook, maybe even a paradigm shift, to rethink
the way we relate to community, commonality, and every
living thing. To do so, they have created phantasmagorical
worlds as an alternative to the overbearing of accepted
reality, inviting us to transfigure our connection to the

The inclusion in the title of the prefix ante serves to
highlight the sense of ambivalence that pervades the
exhibition. Etymologically, ante comes from the Latin word
for before; before the future comes this present with which
we struggle so much to think, and even to live. However,
ante also relates back to the Greek anti, meaning against —
for we also struggle against an alienating vision of the
future that could ultimately turn totalitarian.

The exhibition presents us with a subjective, necessarily
biased view of the historical crossroads we are standing at.
In turns angst-inducing, melancholy, humorous, belligerent
or hopeful, the presented works cannot be mined for
unequivocal, definitive solutions. However, from this
kaleidoscope of viewpoints, feelings and speculative
fictions, a complex, fluid reality eventually coalesces — that
of our present.

Curator: Sandra Patron