In the past fifteen years, artist Jonas Staal has worked on the relation between art, democracy, and propaganda, developing large scale installations in the form of alternative parliaments, embassies, and schools all over the world. The history of utopian art, architecture and philosophy has been a driving inspiration in his practice, which he terms a form of “utopian realism.”
Staal is the founder of several organizations, amongst which the New World Summit (2012–ongoing), which creates parliaments for stateless and blacklisted organizations in theaters, art institutions and public spaces all over the world. He is currently finalizing a first permanent parliament commissioned to him by the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava (North-Syria). The artist further founded the New Unions campaign (2016–ongoing) in response to current crises of the EU, through which he aims to assemble transdemocratic organizations to create scenarios for new, future unions.
Staal’s work further includes interventions in public space, exhibitions, theater plays, publications, and lectures, focusing on the relationship between art, democracy, and propaganda. Recent solo exhibitions include Art of the Stateless State (Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, 2015), New World Academy (Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 2015), After Europe (State of Concept, Athens, 2016) and Museum as Parliament (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2018). His projects have been exhib- ited widely, among others at the 7th Berlin Biennial (2012), the 31st Sao Paulo Biennale (2014), the Oslo Architecture Triennial (2016) and the Gothenburg Biennial (2018).
Recent books by Staal include Nosso Lar, Brasilia (Jap Sam Books, 2014), Stateless Democracy (BAK, 2015) and New Worlds (URO-KORO, 2016). The artist is a regular contributor to e-flux journal and completed his PhD on Propaganda Art from the 20th to the 21st century at the PhDArts program of the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, in 2018.