Sculpture Park Neustadt, 16/10 - 24/10/2021
About the emergence of new/old spaces and their processuality
Art in public space opens up new contexts. It makes us perceive already known or long forgotten places differently and encounter them anew. However, it is not only the artistic works, with their respective negotiations and integrity, that give us new ideas. Rather, it is the experience of thematic confrontations that are inevitably read differently in the context of publicly accessible places. Here, other laws prevail with regard to the reception and interpretation of content.
In the context of Skulpturenpark Neustadt, 15 artistic positions, assembled by four local project spaces, temporarily move into a place that is in some ways a testament to the social and economic urban development of Leipzig‘s east. Similar to the origins of many „off-spaces“ - which are mainly at home in formerly vacant storefronts and retail spaces in the area - the history of the garden is one shaped by local, geopolitical and economic factors: after the wasteland was created by a demolition around 1990, the first discussions with citizens initiatives took place in the 2000s until finally a citizens garden was inaugurated in 2005.
This place is based on the needs of the citizens of the neighborhood. It has been claimed and (re-)activated. Now the garden is once again transformed from silent observer to actor. As host and setting, it decisively determines through its circumstances how this presentation of sculptural works can unfold and fit into its history. A history that far exceeds this exhibition, this gathering of the local independent scene. And yet, through various mechanisms of appropriation, the sculpture garden also inevitably joins the course of development of this place.
Detached from complicated, intellectualized white walls, neon lights, and glass fronts, visitors walk through wildly growing greenery, repurposed hills, and reclaimed landscapes. They walk past a variety of plants, discarded handkerchiefs, used condoms, through the bushes where people pee, along a house wall full of graffiti to a fireplace. A path through the park currently also leads past the various artistic works.
Fifteen artists are showing works here, some of which were conceived especially for the exhibition and which take up their surroundings and the special character of the venue. Encounter is a word that seems to be of special importance especially in connection with the exhibition location given here. Thus not only the Leipzig East or the Bürger:innengarten is an encounter zone. The project spaces also encounter each other with this shoulder-to-shoulder relationship at eye level. Above all, however, it is an encounter of diverse sculptural practices and their interpretations of a contemporary concept of sculpture. Objects are (re)contextualized in this publicly accessible park and gazes are redirected. Guided in new directions, observations and reflections are combined into conceptualizations around places in motion. Not under a roof but in the open air, a show of works can be found here that opens up new, old spaces.
Skulpturenpark Neustadt is a joint initiative of Bistro21, Fonda, Kunstraum IDEAL, and Kunsthalle.Ost with the kind support of Neustädter Markt e.V.
text Julius Pristauz
The space of the natural history museum shows in different ways the forms of survival and adaptation in the animal, plant and human world, which often decide over life and death. Institutions such as museums, galleries and actors in the art world are also forced to deal with the current crisis and its effects: They expand their offers to the virtual space of experience. The resulting short-term oversupply of digital artefacts seems to overlay the already endangered enjoyment of art even more. It is now becoming more obvious how these institutions and their producers, namely the artists, seem to submit to the exploitation strategies of fewer online companies. Regarding this, with this project we are questioning how a „digital Institutional Critique“ can be formulated.
The saying „Survival of the Fittest“ (Herbert Spencer) is symbolic of the current struggle for attention and the resulting reflexive approach to art. At the same time, the process of digitalization is releasing countless resources that are to serve here as inspiration for our own artistic practice and in which we want to intervene digitally, taking the example of the Museum of Natural History Berlin as a concrete example. Beyond the artistic appropriation of its digital resources, this project also reflects on the museums narrative of natural history: a top-down narrative with the help of dead subjects.
20/06/2020 - 04/07/2020
„Selfdeoptimization“ does not strive for objectivity and definitive answers, but allows a decidedly subjective access to current social developments that affect the human body. Nora Langen dedicates her artistic practice to the question of how current technological developments affect our sensory perception, cultural body practices, and our sense of intimacy. The human body is thus at the center of her work; time and again, her works revolve around the ambivalent status of the body between biological entity and cultural construction; around the dualism between body and mind; between physis and metaphysis. What is the human body? / living matter, lifeless flesh, a passive shell? / projection surface, symbol carrier, negotiation site of cultural, social and political identities? / means of struggle, instrument, tool of oppression? / source of excitement, lust, desire and intimacy? / object of disciplining, surveillance and control? / As a point of departure for her examination, she uses the reflection on her own (body) experience and psyche, which she repeatedly explores and contextualizes in interplay with social phenomena. In this way, the exhibition „Selfdeoptimization“ creates an experimental site of documentation, reflection, and association in which personal memories intersect with collective imaginative worlds.
„Selfdeoptimization“ exploits the narrative potential of material artifacts, allows them to enter into dialogue with each other, and plays with an ambivalence of intimacy and distance. The exhibition objects serve here as symbolic representations of personal experiences and at the same time as projection surfaces for collective associations / Water, fender, speed, pool, forest, therapy, prostheses, testicles, wellness, fluidity / Their appearance varies between organic and artificial depending on the materiality and shape; the resulting contrasts act as metaphors for contradictory tendencies of our existence. Yet the individual objects also exhibit deliberate inconsistencies; their haptics sometimes contradict the imaginative images they generate. That alienation effect challenges our imagination and sensitizes our perception of the material nature of the things that surround us; the atmosphere they create in their totality and composition; the narrative quality inherent in them; and of the way we interact with them. „Selfdeoptimization“ thus sheds light on the interdependence between body and environment; individual and society; inside and outside - and on the consequence that our body is never a hermetically sealed entity.
Text Katharina Stahlhofen
20/07/2018 - 28/07/2018
Eremitage Weidengasse, cologne
At the heart of the works is an experimental approach to the currents of the media arts and a free approach that combines sculpture, painting and printing, film and installation. Relics of myself are created. The body is always also culturally shaped and formed, therefore reduced in its possibilities. It is about the interrelation of ratio and effect, control and imagination, distance and closeness, thought and gesture, and consequently also about the discussion of social norms and standards. Thus, the most immediate impact of the works also lies in the force of their opposites: these conflicting impulses (gravity and lightness, abstraction and figuration) often work against each other in one and the same work. Recurring questions revolve around the meaningfulness of being and what our real task is. These questions are always behind the attempted solutions, i.e. the objects, installations and performances. To create and to create facilitates the dissociation from society and the influences of its categories, in order to go on the search for oneself, one‘s tasks and goals A detachment from home and family is thus necessary in order to continue one‘s own search.