‘Try again / fail again / fail better’, is an inspirational quote by Samuel Beckett. In keeping with his famous motto the exhibition Fail better, and this accompanying catalogue presents a diverse selection of films and videos on the theme of failure.
In works dating from the 1960s to the present day, 17 internationally acclaimed artists explore this complex phenomenon, highlighting not only the playful, amusing and surprising aspects of failure but also its mournful and tragic dimensions. Within the realm of art, failure as a risk that must be taken, a necessary form of experiment, has always been closely linked to the creative process.
For today’s artists, the idea of addressing oneʼs own inability – the Sisyphean task of dealing with life’s absurdities, articulated through a process of trial and error – has lost none of its appeal. On the contrary: the experience of failure proves to be a fundamental aspect of contemporary art practice.
Published on the occasion of the exhibition at Hamburger Kunsthalle, 1 March – 11 August 2013.
English and German text.