Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

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Curator Boris Kostadinov developed this proposal during the 2014 Curatorial Intensive in Moscow. The proposal later became the exhibition MATURE AND ANGRY at the Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 2015.

Historically the theories of generations are directly related to economic and social developmental stages. At the end of the 1960s, when the youth revolutions erupted in France and Germany, that generation clearly stated they do not want to live anymore in the world of their parents. In later decades, the neoliberals and the economic boom of the 1980's removed the boundaries between the generations. Then there was a very strong political paradigm which united different generations – the Cold War.

There are two very significant historical facts that in present day are the main reasons to speak using the term "generation." These historical facts are separated in the time by almost 20 years: one is political, the other is economic; but these facts have proved crucial for the generation of today’s 40-year-olds.

The first fact is the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when today's 40-year-olds were in high school. The disappearance of the opposition between East and West made meaningless the life-basis of their fathers and mothers. But this generation bears the stamp of this change. Born and raised in a system of confrontation, these individuals were 20 years old when they had to adjust to a new political model. In the late 1990's, unlike their parents, they were young and optimistic, and they saw the positive aspects of living in a globalized world with more opportunities.

The second important fact in their lives is the occurrence of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007. At that time, they were in their mid-30s. That severe crisis became the reason for the end of their utopias. The failure of the Western globalization model prompted them to seek opportunities in the non-Western world. But they realized that their lifetime was already half over and as a result, the economic crisis was largely the reason for their midlife crisis.

Today the consequences of this historical framework can be analyzed. In 2003, the Anonymous gave the perspective of the new activism of the disaffected. In 2011, Occupy Wall Street launched a wave of protests that swept across North America and Europe over the course of several years. The recent protests from New York, Athens, and Madrid to the bloody clashes in Kiev are a metamorphosis of the ideas of one generation: without utopias and illusions, but politically active enough to want radical change.

This generation (of course, along with their younger fellow citizens) calls for a new political system, transparent policy, and the participation of civil society in the governance. Their protests are organized entirely through the internet and social networks. Unlike the pyramid structure of the classical revolutions – with a leader and an organizing committee – now the system is horizontal, with no leaders and no hierarchical structure. The great advantages of this organization is its democracy and solidarity, while the major disadvantage is the lack of tools with which to influence the political process directly.

All this social, economical and political chaos coincided with personal chaos in the mind of a person in the middle of his/her lifetime. The term "midlife crisis" was introduced in 1965 by Elliott Jaques, but its principle is enshrined in Freud's theory of the fear of approaching death. Even so, the midlife crisis has lately received more attention in popular culture than serious research.

The midlife crisis in the field of contemporary art is a different species altogether. The system of the so-called "art world" is largely undemocratic and a product of the commercial dictates of the late 1980's. Just like in cinema or pop music, this system idolizes the young star. For many years we have been witnessing a continual process imposed by galleries, foundations, museums, art fairs, and biennials, which launches increasingly younger names. The terms "emerging artist," "mid-career," and "established" are major landmarks in the contemporary art world. Today major institutional support is directed exclusively to artists under the age of 30 or a maximum of 35 years old.

The project Mature and Angry collects viewpoints, theories, critical commentaries and analyses of various artists between the ages of 33 and 45. This group is precisely the generation that has formed their beliefs and viewpoints, their personal and career plans in the period from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the global financial and economic crisis.

The concept of the exhibition aims to strike a balance between private and general. On one hand, Mature and Angry presents personal narratives and mythologies, specific phenomenology of life, and some special cases. On the other hand, it represents the public in its most important events: politics, economics, technology, social environment and social theory, ethics, and economics of art. The participating artists have life experience and the distance of time, so they understand their development in different contexts. At the same time they are sufficiently active and young, which allows them to seek and offer alternative concepts for new “future contexts.”


Learn More

To learn more about this proposal please email Boris Kostadinov at To learn more about the Curatorial Intensive email