(un)mediated nature curated by Yvonne Bialek
Mehraneh Atashi, Paula Doepfner, Conor Gilligan, Kapwani Kiwanga, Tim Reinecke and Kathrin Sonntag
Exhibition: January 24 – March 3, 2017
Opening: January 24, 2017

Installation Views

Works

Press Release

The group exhibition (un)mediated nature brings together art works in which plants and flowers function as objects, material and motifs. The exhibition follows a certain assumption: When organisms, such as flowers and plants, enter the art space, they perform a transformation characteristic for the exhibition context. Like readymades, they externally remain unchanged, but take on a further layer of meaning – be it of political, cultural or social nature. They become mediators of associations or bearers of narratives. Plants turn into a medium in which their supposed naturalness becomes the projection surface for artistic attributions. The title of the exhibition describes this process by referring to the constant oscillation of the im-mediacy of nature in the context of the exhibition, which also goes in line with a traditional cultural act: For centuries, plants have been declared representatives of symbolic meanings, which vary depending on time, context and culture. The art works shown in the exhibition connect to this practice of attribution in a certain way, in which the representation and use of the plants opens up further, different meanings beyond the pure presentation and aesthetics, referring to concrete political events, social circumstances or psychological states.

 

Kapwani Kiwanga’s series Flowers for Africa ​​(since 2012) consists of flower arrangements that appear in photographs of the celebrations of independence of African states. The floral arrangement on display originates from a press photo documenting the first day of the independence of South Sudan on July 9, 2011. The bouquet was given to a political delegation in the capital of Juba during the festivities. In the current exhibition context, it refers to this “Independence Day” and continues Kiwanga’s Flowers for Africa ​​series. The bouquet as the replica of an original created in West-Africa in July comes as close to its template as possible but remains subject to the cycle of nature: The white Gladioli used in the original bouquet are summer flowers and not available during the winter months in Berlin. See from a territorial point of view, however, the bouquet from South Sudan already crossed all borders. While wild-flowered Gladioli are native to South Africa, the red and white Anthuriums are a floral import to the continent whose history dates back to the colonial era. In 1876, they were discovered in the rainforest of Colombia by the French botanist Édouard André, the later chief gardener of Paris. This is how they arrived in Europe as part of his expedition, and finally made their way to Africa.

 

The interdependence between visual perception and cognitive significance is a constant theme in the artistic work of Kathrin Sonntag. In the photographic triptych Mimikry #1, the interrelation between single images and their combinations is put to the test with regard to their separate and combined reading using three plant (-/similar) representations. Visual analogies, created through similarities in form, structure and color, directly affect the reading of the individual image, so that all three photographs are located in the context of “nature”. At a second glance, differences in the nature of the depicted become apparent. The recognition of these differences thus leads to a reflection on the preceding attribution of meaning.

 

Conor Gilligans cast bronze sculptures, Core (2013) and Bitter Lemon (2016), are references to the artist’s wider, performative practice. Gilligan usually creates spaces where social practices become temporary, community-creating situations. For example, he ran the restaurant Zum Pengwyn in a museum context for two years and hosted a curated food event in his studio. Objects of different origins and characteristics relate to this ephemeral, performative and collective situations in various ways. The bronzes, which, in addition to the apple-seed series Core, with a circulation of 1000 unique pieces of apples, which the artist himself has bitten and cast, also consist of other vegetables and are now completed with Daffodils, sitting in Bitter Lemon instead of water. Similar to the apple and its multi-layered symbolic meanings, the bronze of the Daffodil flower – which is also called Narcissus – resonates with other associative contents, too.

 

Tim Reinecke’s work Relax (2015) shows the current state of an ever-changing Golden Cane Palm, a popular palm tree used in offices and private interiors. Instead of rich soil, which would provide the plant with vital nutrients and water, its roots are cemented in concrete. The palm leafs are hanging down limp and weak, the plant’s vital green has given way to a dull gray. The promise of the lifestyle benefit of improved quality of life thanks to the exotic plant in the interior is counteracted in Reinecke’s work. The concept of the upgrading of living or working spaces with the help of a standardized “naturalness” in the form of potted plants including Seramis and a water level indicator is made visible in its regulated artificiality.

 

Annette Wehrmann’s photo series Sprengungen (Explosions) of 1993 represents a historical reference within the exhibition and is therefore presented in the form of reproductions from the magazine Kultur und Gespenster No. 11/2010. Wehrmann sprinkled planter in the public space of the typically German open-air shopping malls, the so-called Fußgängerzonen. The neatly planted and maintained, colourfully blooming flower tubs were partly destroyed by the explosion, and only slightly and shortly disturbed the middle-class idyll. The photographic documentation testifies to that moment of intervention in the public space.

 

In her new work Or is it because you remind me of something that used to be, Paula Doepfner has assembled various collected and pressed flowers into a display of two broken-glass panes. The collection and concentration of flowers and other foliage resembles an unknown and hybrid plant form. The fragile flowers and leaves, which were partly picked nearby the gallery, act as if they are preserved behind the cracked glass and at the same time still alive. The blossom-colored pigment spreads into the breaking edges of the glass and additionally marks the destruction that the glass panes fell vicim to: They originate from house burglaries and Doepfner’s constant use of that material in her work points to the everyday brittleness of a supposed security. Fragility, naturalness and even “beauty” are always located here in the context of transience and destruction.

 

The Flowers in Mehraneh Atashi’s series with the same title where photographed by the artist in 2010 in the streets and vicinity of Tehran. Shot mostly at night with a bright flashlight, the blossoms in the pictures are blurred in front of a black or vanished background. Despite the political context of their becoming, the protests against the 2009 Iranian presidential election results, the flowers as motifs retain a „naturalness“ in both senses of the word. The Flowers-series resulted as a replacement and distancing of Atashi’s former work Tehran’s Self-Portraits (2008–2010) where she overlaid portraits of herself with images of the city, rendering visible a close, personal interrelation of the artist and her surrounding.

Die Gruppenausstellung (un)mediated nature versammelt künstlerische Arbeiten, in denen Blumen und Pflanzen als Objekte, Material und Motive erscheinen. Dabei geht die Ausstellung einer These nach: Werden Organismen wie Blumen und Pflanzen im Raum der Kunst situiert, so vollzieht sich eine im Ausstellungskontext bekannte Transformation. Ähnlich wie Readymades, bleiben sie äußerlich unverändert, werden jedoch mit einer weiteren Bedeutungsebene angereichert – sei es politischer, kultureller oder sozialer Natur. Sie werden zu Mittlern von Assoziationen oder zu Trägern von Narrationen. Über sich hinaus wachsen sie zu einem Medium heran, worin ihre vermeintliche Natürlichkeit zur Projektionsfläche für künstlerische Zuschreibungen wird. Diesen Prozess beschreibt der Titel der Ausstellung, indem er auf das ständige Changieren der Un/Mitteilbarkeit von Natur im Ausstellungskontext verweist, das zudem an eine traditionelle Kulturhandlung anschließt: Gewächse werden seit Jahrhunderten als Repräsentanten symbolischer Bedeutungen deklariert, die je nach Zeit, Kontext und Kulturkreis variieren. Die in der Ausstellung gezeigten Arbeiten eignen sich diese Praxis der Zuschreibung in gewisser Weise an, indem die Darstellung und der Gebrauch der Gewächse hier über ihre reine Präsentation und Ästhetik hinaus weitere unterschiedliche Bedeutungsdimensionen eröffnet und damit einhergehend auf konkrete politische Ereignisse, soziale Gegebenheiten und psychologische Daseinzustände verweist.

 

 

Kapwani Kiwangas Serie Flowers for Africa (seit 2012) besteht aus Blumenarragements, die in Fotografien von Unabhängigkeitsfeiern afrikanischer Staaten auftauchen. Das hier gezeigte Blumenarrangement hat seinen Ursprung in einem Pressebild, das den ersten Tag der Unabhängigkeit Südsudans am 9. Juli 2011 dokumentiert. Der Strauß wurde damals in Hauptstadt Juba einer politischen Delegation übergeben. Im aktuellen Ausstellungskontext verweist das Bouquet auf diesen „Independence Day“ und setzt Kiwangas Serie der Flowers for Africa fort. Das Bouquet als Replik eines Vorbilds, das im Hochsommer in einem west-afrikanischen Land erstellt wurde, lehnt sich der Vorlage so nah wie möglich an, bleibt darin jedoch dem Kreislauf der Natur unterworfen: Die im Original-Bouquet verarbeiteten weißen Gladiolen sind Sommerblumen und im winterlichen Berlin nicht erhältlich. Geografisch gesehen, sprengte jedoch auch der südsudanesische Strauß schon alle Grenzen. Während wildblühende Gladiolen in Südafrika heimisch sind, handelt es sich bei den roten und weißen Anthurien um einen Blumenimport, dessen Geschichte in die Kolonialzeit zurückreicht: 1876 wurden sie im Regenwald Kolumbiens vom französischen Botaniker Édouard André, dem späteren Chef-Gärtner von Paris, entdeckt und gelangten als Teil seiner Expedition nach Europa, und schließlich auch nach Afrika.

 

Die Interdependenz zwischen visueller Wahrnehmung und kognitiver Bedeutungszuschreibung ist ein konstantes Thema der künstlerischen Arbeit von Kathrin Sonntag. In dem fotografischen Triptychon Mimikry #1 wird die Wechselbeziehung von Einzelbildern und Bild-Kombinationen hinsichtlich ihrer separaten und gemeinsamen Lesart anhand von drei Pflanzen(-/ähnlichen)-Darstellungen erprobt. Visuelle Analogien, hergestellt durch Ähnlichkeiten in Form, Struktur und Farbe, wirken unmittelbar beziehungsstufend zwischen den Einzelbildern, sodass alle drei Fotografien im Kontext von „Natur“ verortet werden. Auf den zweiten Blick erst werden Wesens-Unterschiede im Abgebildeten sichtbar.

Das Erkennen dieser Differenz wiederum führt zu einer Reflexion über die vorangehende Zuschreibung von Bedeutung.

 

Conor Gilligans Bronze-Arbeiten, Core (2013) und Bitter Lemon (2016), sind als Verweise auf den größeren Zusammenhang seiner performativen Praxis zu sehen. Gilligan kreiert immer wieder Orte, an denen soziale Praktiken zu einer zeitlich beschränkten, Gemeinschaft-stiftenden Situation werden. So betrieb er im Museums-Kontext zwei Jahre lang das Restaurant Zum Pengwyn und beheimatete ein kuratiertes Essen-Events in seinem Atelier. Objekte unterschiedlicher Herkunft und Beschaffenheit setzen sich zu diesem ephemeren, performativen und kollektiven Zustand verschiedenartig in Beziehung. Die Bronzen, zu denen neben der Apfelgrieben-Serie Core, mit einer Auflage von 1000 Unikaten der vom Künstler selbst abgenagten und ausgegossenen Äpfel, auch unterschiedliches Gemüse gehört, sind nun Osterglocken hinzugekommen, die anstatt in Wasser, in Bitter Lemon stehen. Wie beim Apfel und seinen vielschichtigen symbolischen Bedeutungsebenen, schwingen auch bei der bronzenen Osterglocke – die auch Narzisse heißt – weitere assoziative Inhalte mit.

 

Tim Reineckes Arbeit Relax von 2015 zeigt den aktuellen Zustand einer stets weiter vergehenden Goldfruchtpalme, einer beliebten Palmenart für Büros und private Innenräume. Anstelle von reichhaltiger Erde, der die Pflanze mit lebenswichtigen Nährstoffen und Wasser versorgen würde, sind ihre Wurzeln jedoch im Beton zementiert. Schlaff und kraftlos hängen die Palmenzweige herab, das vitale Pflanzengrün ist einem matten Grau gewichen. Die Verheißung eines Lifestyle-Benefits von besserer Lebensqualität dank der exotische Pflanze im Innenraum wird in Reineckes Arbeit konterkariert. Das Konzept der Aufwertung von Wohn- oder Arbeitsraum durch eine standardisierte „Natürlichkeit“ in Form von Topfpflanzen inklusive Seramis und Wasserstandsanzeige wird in ihrer regulierten Künstlichkeit sichtbar gemacht.

 

Annette Wehrmanns Fotoserie Sprengungen von 1993 stellt eine historische Referenz innerhalb der Ausstellung dar und ist deshalb in Form von Reproduktionen aus dem Magazin Kultur und Gespenster Nr. 11/2010 zu sehen. Wehrmann sprengte Blumenkübel im öffentlich Raum, den Freiluft-Shopping-Malls der hierzulande typischen Fußgängerzonen. Die ordentlich bepflanzten und gehegten, bunt blühenden Blumenkästen wurden durch ihre Sprengaktion zerstört, das bürgerliche Idyll dadurch jedoch nur kurzeitig gestört. Vom Moment dieser Intervention im urbanen Raum zeugt die fotografische Dokumentation.
In ihrer neuen Arbeit Or is it because you remind me of something that used to be hat Paula Doepfner verschiedene gesammelte und gepresste Blüten in ein Display aus zwei Bruch-Glasschreiben gepresst. Die Sammlung und Verdichtung erinnert an eine neue, hybride Pflanzenform. Die fragilen Blüten und Blätter, die teilweise aus dem Galerieumfeld stammen, wirken, als seinen sie hinter dem zersprungenen Glas konserviert und gleichzeitig lebendig. Das blütenfarbene Pigment verteilt sich in die Bruchkanten des Glases und markiert damit zusätzlich die Zerstörung, denen die Scheiben anheim fielen: Sie stammen vom Hauseinbrüchen und verweisen auf die alltägliche Brüchigkeit einer vermeintlichen Sicherheit. Fragilität, Natürlichkeit und auch „Schönheit“ werden in Doepfners Arbeiten auf diese Weise immer im Kontext von Vergänglichkeit und Zerstörung verortet.

 

Für die Serie Flowers fotografierte Mehraneh Atashi im Jahre 2010 Blumen in den Straßen und der näheren Umgebung von Teheran. In gleissendem Blitzlicht erscheinen die Blüten zumeist verschwommen vor einem nur schwer erkennbaren Hintergrund. Trotz der politischen Situation, in der die Bilder entstanden – der Proteste gegen die iranischen Präsidentschaftswahlen 2009 – behalten die Blumen als Motive eine „Natürlichkeit“, die auch als „Unbefangeheit“ gedeutet werden kann. Die Flowers entstanden als Ersatz und Distanzierung von Atashis vorangehender Arbeit Teheran’s Self-Portraits (2008-2010), in der sie Selbstporträts mit Ansichten von der Stadt überlagert und eine enge, persönliche Beziehung der Künstlerin zu ihrer Umgebung sichtbar machte.

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Afrogalactica: A brief history of the future
Performance at HALLUCINATIONS (Live / Cinema / Festival) on the invitation by Ben Russell
at documenta 14, Athens
June 24, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
In Edenia, A City of the Future
Group exhibition curated by Yevgeniy Fiks
Yermilov Centre, Kharkiv, Ukraine
June 8 - July 31, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica II: The Black Star Chronicles
Performance at KIOSK, Ghent
June 1, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Flowers are Documents – Arrangement I & II
Group exhibition curated by Emanuele Guidi
ar/ge kunst, Bolzano, Italy
May 26 - July 29, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica: A brief history of the future
Performance at Media Library of the City of Geneva, Switzerland
May 11, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica: A brief history of the future
Performativer Dialog »Das soziale Leben des Universums«
Performance at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart
May 5, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
What is one to do with such a clairvoyant image?
Group exhibition
Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada
May 5 - June 3, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Critic's picks
by Kristian Vistrup Madsen
ARTFORUM
May, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Die besten Kunst-Spaziergänge durch Berlin
by Lisa Zeitz, Christiane Meixner, Tim Ackermann u.a.
DIE ZEIT
April 29, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Show Me Your Archive and I Will Tell You Who Is In Power
Group exhibition
KIOSK, Ghent
April 28 - June 16, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Gallery Weekend Berlin
by Sofia Lemos
art agenda
April 28-30, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Berlin – Unterwegs zum Gallery Weekend
WELTKUNST
April 26, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica: A brief history of the future
Performance at The Power Plant, Toronto
April 21, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica
Solo exhibition
The Institute of Things to Come, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin
April 13 - May 14, 2017
Galerie Tanja Wagner – New York
LEARNING FROM BIG MISTAKES
Ulf Aminde, Annabel Daou, Paula Doepfner, Nilbar Güreş, Šejla Kamerić, Kapwani Kiwanga, Laurel Nakadate, Grit Richter, Angelika J. Trojnarski
March 31 - April 9, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Conversations on Art
Artist talk
Fondation D'entreprise Ricard, Paris
March 8, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
The Power Plant, Toronto – exhibition review
by Frances Loeffler
FRIEZE
April 6, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Almost There
Group exhibition
Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
March 2 - May 6, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Horses on Rollerblades
Group exhibition
Konsthall C, Hökarängen, Sweden
February 25 - May 7, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
A wall is just a wall
Solo exhibition
The Power Plant, Toronto
January 28 - May 14, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Unravelings
Group exhibition
meter, Copenhagen
January 23 - April 2, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
The sum and its parts
Solo exhibition
Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago
January 20 - March 12, 2017
Kapwani Kiwanga
Strata
Group exhibition curated by Eva Wilson Kópavogur
Cycle Music and Art Festival, Iceland
October 27 - 30, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
RUN RUN RUN
Group exhibition
Villa Arson, Nice
October 2 - December 30, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Uriel Orlow: Mafavuke’s Trial and Other Plant Stories
Group exhibition
The Showroom, London
September 28 - November 19
Kapwani Kiwanga
Meet 9 Canadian women changing the game
by ELLE Canada
September 15, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Botany under Influence
Group exhibition organized by Clelia Coussonnet
Apexart, New York
September 7 - October 22, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
"Rumors that Maji was a lie…
Solo exhibition
Stiftelsen 3,14, Bergen, Norway
August 19 - October 16, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
EVA Biennale: 2016 - Edition - Still (the) Barbarian
curated by Koyo Kouoh
Limerick City Gallery of Art
April 16 - July 17, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
A conversation with the artist
OCULA
March 30, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Two Eerie Armory Installations, From One Buzzy Artist
by Julie Baumgardner
New York Times
March 3, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Kapwani Kiwanga's Archival Explorations
by Emily McDermott
Interview Magazine
March 2, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
The Armory Show Review
by Jason Farago
The Guardian
March 4, 2016
The Armory Show, 2016
with a solo presentation by Kapwani Kiwanga
The Armory Show, Piers 92 & 94, New York
March 3 - 6, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Up and Coming: Armory Artist Kapwani Kiwanga
by Emily Nathan
Artsy
February 24, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Parlons-en. Œuvres de la collection / Let's talk about Art
Group exhibition
Musée départemental d'art contemporain de Rochechouart, France
February 27 - June 12, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Solo Exhibition
La Ferme de Buisson, Noisiel
April 24 - October 9, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Hors Sol
FRAC Poitou-Charnetes
February 12 - May 14, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Subduction Zones
Solo exhibition
Le Granit, Belfort
March 5 - April 19, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica: A Brief History of the Future
Performance at
Lille métropole musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut, Lille
December 17, 2015 16.30 pm
Kapwani Kiwanga
A Conservator’s Tale
Performance at FIAC, Paris
October 22, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
4th Biennale of Lubumbashi
October 20 - November 8, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Commissioned Artist Named for Armory Show 2016
by Robin Pogrebin
Armory Show 2016
March 3 – 6, 2016
Annabel Daou and Kapwani Kiwanga
What We Call Love
Group exhibition curated by Christine Macel
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
September 12, 2015 – February 14, 2016
Kapwani Kiwanga
Kontrollmodus Feedback
Group exhibition curated by Elena Agudio & Michael Arzt
Halle 14, Leipzig September
12 - November 8, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Edge of Silence
Group exhibition
Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
July 23 - August 29, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica: A Brief History of the Future
Performance at La Maison Rouge, Paris
July 9, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Story of a Conservator
Performance
Bétonsalon, Paris
June 25, 2015 7-8 pm
Kapwani Kiwanga
Mediated Measures
Solo exhibition curated by Simone Frangi
Viafarini, Milano
June 18 - July 16, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Atopolis
Group exhibition organized by Wiels in collaboration with Mons 2015
Manège de Sury, Mons in cooperation with WIELS Contemporary Art Center, Brussels
June 13 – October 18, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
To speak of things you have not seen
Lecture-performance at
South London Gallery, London
May 20, 2015 7 pm
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica II: The Black Star Chronicles
Performance at
ENSBA, Beaux-Arts de Paris
May 7, 2015 4:30 pm
Kapwani Kiwanga
storytelling through art
by Giulia Franceschini
IAM AFRICA MAGAZINE
April 29, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Afrogalactica: A Brief History of the Future
Performance at
Exodos International Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Ljubljana
April 20, 2015 6 pm
Kapwani Kiwanga
Kinjiketile Suite
Solo exhibition
South London Gallery, London
April 15 - 7 June, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
The deep space scrolls
Performance at
Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard, Paris
March 30, 2015 7 pm
Kapwani Kiwanga
I am no longer a purist…
Magnus Rosengarten in conversation with Kapwani Kiwanga
Contemporary And
March 28, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
AFROGALACTICA : a brief history of the future
Performance at Kunstencentrum Vooruit, Ghent
March 14, 2015 7pm
Kapwani Kiwanga
Does Not Equal
Group exhibition
W139
March 13 - April 12, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Telepathic Relay
Performance
HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin
March 12, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
AFROGALACTICA : a brief history of the future
Performance
Le Phénix - Scène National de Valenciennes
March 11, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
A Century of Centuries

Group exhibition
SALT BEYOĞLU, Istanbul
March 10 – May 24, 2015
Kapwani Kiwanga
Trace évidence

Solo exhibition
École Supérieure d’Art et Design, Valence 
March 5 - 20, 2015