Exhibition: Eigene Orte / Appropriated Spaces — Berlin

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Date/Time: 29/08/2003 12:00 am

Exhibition: Eigene Orte / Appropriated Spaces
OPENING: Friday, 29.8.03, 7 pm
DURATION: 30.8. – 2.11.03
Participating artists: Amelia Barragán (MEX/D), Otto Berchem
(USA/NL), Margit Czenki (D), Lars Erik Frank (DK/D), Ruth Kaaserer
(D/A), Lasse Lau (DK/USA), Anna Meyer (CH/A), Katya Sander (DK),
Christoph Schäfer (D), Sean Snyder (USA/D), Malte Willms (D),
Florian Zeyfang (D), Moira Zoitl (A/D)
SYMPOSIUM: forum landesvertretung // eigene orte, 10.10.03, start 2 pm
AT: Vertretung des Landes Niedersachsen beim Bund in Berlin
A central topic of the exhibition relates to different forms of
appropriation of public space depending on strategies of assertion,
occupation and hierarchy. How is public space produced, who produces
it, who uses it and especially how are these spaces appropriated in
short or long term.
To administrate space is equal to dominating it and being able to
determine its terms of admission. The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu
considers power over space to be one of the most privileged ways of
exercising power and therefore of controlling social living areas.
The group exhibition will explore different consequences on
urbanistic systems as well as mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion
under the aspects of private, community-oriented or commercial
interests. The concept of space is interpreted with Henri Lefèbvre
as a place of social production. In this sense, space is not just
seen as built surroundings, but as a social product that is defined
by its various uses. The artistic positions of this exhibition
explore different forms of appropriation of space through their
social production.
The artists Amelia Barragán and Malte Willms work under the title
“Where does the smile come from?” (De dónde viene la sonrisa?) with
the Mexican population of Wolfsburg. This group, because of their
professional relation to Volkswagen, represents the global
phenomenon of working-migration. The artists are organizing Mexican
film evenings, where different role models of the Mexican society
are discussed, baring in mind the living reality in Germany. The
starting point of the project is the reality of a constantly
changing identity: how does this specific group organize their
social structures in their temporary home in Wolfsburg?
The video installation “Going Public” (2001) by Otto Berchem deals
with art in public space and its hierarchical structures. Existing
sculptures or site-specific projects by i.e. Alexander Calder,
Richard Serra, Daniel Buren or Vito Acconci are examined through
their daily use in public space by their function or malfunction.
Otto Berchems research makes the accordance or contradiction between
artistic theory or practice of the postmodern area visible.
The glamorous clothing collection by Margit Czenki celebrates in
“souvenirs from prohlis throughout the world: comets, potatoes and
the beauty of prefab-buildings.” the beauty of the prefab-buildings
from socialist times of Prohlis, a suburb of Dresden, that is
threatened to be destroyed. The project also refers to the
possibilities of appropriating a city by fashion and bodies. A
worldwide image-campaign is set against the negative campaign on
this suburb with photo shootings in Hamburg, Vienna, London,
Mexico-City, Singapore as well as in locations in Tuscany and
Lars Erik Frank and Lasse Lau deal with the role and visibility of
football in public space. They work on the fan culture, examined
closer through the example of the football club VfL Wolfsburg. They
explore the claim to public space through its architecture and
advertising, but especially considering the differentiated fan
culture of this club. In their installation, interviews with
different representatives of the various fan-clubs elaborate on the
identity-producing-factors and differences from other groups and are
combined with actual fan-articles.
The video “balance” (2000) from Ruth Kaaserer shows, how three young
women of migrant background make their language and living space in
a Viennese modern living area into their own place. Magda, Ewa and
Andrea speak about their situation, on the role of women and men in
society as well as their ideas of the future. The stories are mixed
with images from activities of other young women in this area. Hip
Hop, dancing and basket ball scenes are combined with the stories.
This mixture of documentary film, music clip and artist video allows
different points of view oscillate between ones own identity and the
identity assigned by others.
The paintings of Anna Meyer show various connotations of mattresses
in public space. They are seen positively in a market place in
Egypt, where they are sold new. In the context of European cities,
mattresses in public space are very often old and seen as being
connected to a social decline to homelessness. The different uses of
mattresses and their value in specific contexts will also be
enlarged by an installation at the Kunstverein.
Katya Sander documents her project “Kahve & Kulüp” (1999), where she
worked on having the words “Kahve & Kulüp” (Turkish for pub or café)
admitted into the official Danish language. Connected to this, there
was an intervention in a public space in Copenhagen to mount one of
the words in front of a Turkish Kulüp and create an awareness about
the (in)visibility of a culture by its language.
Christoph Schäfer is decoding the urban reality from a daily life
perspective as well as working in collective projects such as “Park
Fiction” on urban changes. The photo-text work “Wall Writing”,
examines two written signs in the city centre of Hamburg: one is
legal out of brass at the entrance of a fancy shopping mall, that
tries to produce a nostalgic connection to the past of the Hanseatic
city. The other writing is secret, but a monumental message, that
clever Polish workers have left there.
Public spaces are more and more occupied by the presence of the
media. Sean Snyder works in “mosaic” about cinematic structures of
the worldwide satellite television news broadcasts. The title refers
to the grid, showing a lot of channels simultaneously. He examines
editing techniques of the world wide news along with their influence
on the perception of our physical surroundings and geography that
are defined through certain ‘establishing shots’. Our perception of
news stories is essentially narrated using filmmaking techniques.
The appropriation of the street by a demonstration is seen as the
classical gesture of the workers and provides, through its mass
appearance, at the same time visibility as well as self
consciousness. Florian Zeyfang documents different visual and verbal
expressions during the 1st of May demonstration 2003 in the streets
of Istanbul, where this day is no longer a holiday due to political
reasons. But there are still hundreds of thousands of people going
to the streets. There, different political parties and unions find
their place next to war protestors and demonstrators with other
political issues, who are limited visually by the state control of
the police.
Starting from the fact that Filipina migrant workers meet every
Sunday on their only day off in public space in Central, one of Hong
Kongs biggest bank quarters, Moira Zoitl produces a publication thatcollects different stories and facts about the different living and
working conditions of Filipina domestic workers. Along with her
publication titled “Chat(t)er Gardens – Stories from and about
Filipina workers”, where the artist works on the representation of
this migrant group in Hong Kong and London, she visualizes their
situation with photographs and an installation.
Symposium “forum landesvertretung // eigene orte”
On the occasion of this exhibition, there will be a symposium held
at the representation of the County of Lower Saxony in Berlin. Art
historians, urbanists, sociologists and politicians will discuss on
the subjects of the exhibition. AT: Vertretung des Landes
Niedersachsen beim Bund in Berlin, In den Ministergärten 10
exhibition opening hours
Di 13 – 20 h
Mi – Fr 12 – 17 h
Sa 13 – 18 h
So 10 – 18 h
Kunstverein Wolfsburg e.V.
Schlossstraße 8
38 448 Wolfsburg
T + 49 (0) 53 61 – 67 4 22
F + 49 (0) 53 61 – 65 08 62
florian zeyfang * muskauer strasse 24 * 10997 berlin * +49 30 611
9887 * +49 170 773 9009