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Circular Flow

On the Economy of Inequality

GEGENWART / 07.12.2019–19.07.2020 / Curator: Søren Grammel

With works by:

Ursula Biemann

Wang Bing

Bureau d'Études

Alice Creischer

Simon Denny

Ulrike Grossarth

Jan Peter Hammer

Fred Lonidier

Richard Mosse

Marion von Osten

Lisa Rave

Claus Richter

Cameron Rowland

Andreas Siekmann

Melanie Gilligan

«To the extent that transnational capital is no longer centered in a single metropol, as industrial capital in the 1840s was (...), there is no longer ‘a city’ at the center of the system, but rather a fluctuating web of connections between metropolitan regions and exploitable peripheries.» – Allan Sekula, Fish Story (1995)

What ethical, social and political consequences does the ongoing economization of all aspects of life mean for our individual and collective life? To what extent has subjectivity itself become an economic constellation?
The imperative of international competitiveness as a consequence of global capitalism, which applies equally to companies and states, now dictates the conditions of labor and production everywhere. In this context, the exhibition focuses on the relationship between colonialism, early economic globalization, and the establishment of power relations and worldwide inequality. In the process, various interrelations are pursued that, parallel to the worldwide value creation cycles, concern the circulation of goods, people, lifestyles, services and cultural forms between different political systems, geographies and histories.

In the exhibition, economy is also understood as a system that shapes our perception and communication of reality and continuously generates our own images and forms of speech. One concern of the project is to oppose the diagrammatic and model-like perspective with which the economy looks at the world with other types of images. They reflect the principles of the economic and problematize both the concept and the real conditions of „unlimited“ growth.

In conjunction with the invited artists, the exhibition will include works from the collection of the Kunstmuseum Basel: Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Pieter Bruegel d.Ä., Emanuel Büchel, Walter Dahn, Albrecht Dürer, Editions Paul-Martial, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Hieronymus II. Francken, Paul Gauguin, Hans Holbein d. Ä., Hans Holbein d. J., Rudolf Huber, Martin Kippenberger, Isaack Luttichuys, Maria Sibylla Merian, Alfred Heinrich Pellegrini, Frans Post, Bartholomäus Sarburgh, Simon Starling and Adam Willaerts. For example the piece "Brazilian Landscape" by Frans Post, a painter who accompanied the Governor General of West Indian Society to northeastern Brazil in the middle of the 17th century.


  • Fonds für künstlerische Aktivitäten im Museum für Gegenwartskunst der Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung und der Christoph Merian Stiftung
  • Stiftung für das Kunstmuseum Basel