Recently, a new understanding of the future has begun to have an impact on contemporary art, especially in regards to the planning of individual artist's career. The original idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, as propounded by Richard Wagner, has been transformed to address an individual life–long project; the retrospective is not left to be organised by a younger generation but has taken its place within artists' own masterplans. The big picture, before only visible in retrospect, has turned into a frame that shapes artistic production in the present.
Silvie Defraoui collaborating with Cherif Defraoui (1932 – 1994) decided as early as 1975 to put her complete works under the title 'Archives du future'. All her artistic production is incorporated within this long-term project in the form of a constantly growing archive. On the one hand this is a self reflection of the status of a work of art, as in the future it will indeed form the archive of the past; on the other hand it is an example of an artistic masterplan that gives a frame to all of her different artworks.
Together the works in the show demonstrate the different roles that future can play in artistic production. The exhibition is a collaborative project between the Townhouse Gallery of contemporary art in Cairo, Pro Helvetia and Kunsthalle Winterthur.