The Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is pleased to announce four new artistic works by Yael Bartana, Jan St. Werner, DAF (Dynamic Acoustic Research), and Sunette L. Viljoen and Egemen Demirci for public urban spaces as part of State and Nature.
Based on the parkland surrounding the institution, the yearlong program State and Nature explores the mutable relationship between state and nature. Interpreting institutional identity as “state” and nature as a resource plays a crucial role in re-evaluating politics of representation, attributions of self and other, and social and economic infrastructures.
Before the eponymous major exhibition opens in June 2021, the program will start in Spring with four works installed in public spaces, the so-called Preludes, playfully setting subversive accents and contrasts in the surroundings of the Kunsthalle. The artistic works refer to different sensual and medial processes such as photography, sculpture, and sound installation. They establish a multi-layered and nuanced connection to their immediate environment and, in the current pandemic situation, can be experienced by the audience open-air.
From 30.03. to 28.06.2021 in public space:
Yael Bartana – Resurrection I–II
Posters in public space
The program begins with Yael Bartana’s photographic work Resurrection I-II (2020). Displayed on billboards in several locations in the city, the work touches on questions of cultural dominance of public space and identitary attribution and belonging, as well as appropriation of pictorial schemes in the media and artistic approaches. The photographs show the artist with a half-veiled face and a live rabbit on her arm, a deliberate allusion to the highly symbolic performances of Joseph Beuys. In the year of Beuys’ 100th birthday, Bartana’s visual reinterpretation challenges, as she says, the “devout and priestly nature of the art world, as well as the authority of the traditionally male artist type.”
Resurrection I-II was created in the fall of 2020 at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden during the Jewish holidays of Jamim Noraim, the ten days of reverence between Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) that conclude the past year and pave the way for new beginnings. In the weeks surrounding the Christian Easter, which also celebrates new beginnings, Bartana’s somber photographs prompt a contrasting tension in the springtime urban space of Baden-Baden.
From 12.05. to 17.10.2021 in public space:
Jan St. Werner – Encourage The Stream
Sound installation in the park at Lichtentaler Allee
Encourage The Stream (2021) by Jan St. Werner, half of the electronic music group Mouse on Mars, functions as an acoustic amplification of the Oos River, which flows through the park as the heart of Baden-Baden and shapes its nature. In an attempt to communicate with the Oos, Werner places a microphone just above the water and transports the sound of the river through loudspeakers beyond the riverbank into the park toward the Kunsthalle. Thereby, Werner creates the possibility to explore and perceive the Oos at different frequencies of sound (acoustically) and create new spatial relationships. The active act of listening creates a perceptual experience of distance and proximity. The moment when these two levels mix acoustically creates a connection that, beyond listening, triggers cognitive processes and transforms one’s way of seeing. In this work, the acoustic supersedence of space and time also stands for engagement with the forces of nature. It is therefore no coincidence that the first large-scale public art work commissioned by Çağla İlk and Misal Adnan Yıldız for their tenure as directors of the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is a single project of an experimental artistic practice that brings together the fields of visual art and sound. By engaging with nature in their close vicinity, institutions, like people themselves, can support and connect with their environment and experience its preservation as a sensory and material resource.
DAF (Dynamic Acoustic Research) – U-
Light and sound installation in Lichtentaler Allee park
The collective DAF (Dynamic Acoustic Research), which understands itself as an unconfined community that has evolved under the mentorship of Jan St. Werner at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg, approaches the audience both acoustically and visually with its work from the series U- (2021). The backlit sign with a white U on a blue background installed in the park at Lichtentaler Allee is surrounded by noises reminiscent of the soundscapes of underground transportation systems: a rhythmic thumping, a heavy grinding, interspersed with bright ringing. The spontaneously adaptive transformation of the site through its connection to a symbolic network undermines the absolute unconditionality of reality. The work opens the space for real and imaginary possibilities and the places and non-places in which they connect.
Sunette L. Viljoen & Egemen Demirci – Exclusive Incline
Sculptural installation in public space
In their collaborative work Exclusive Incline (2020), Sunette L. Viljoen and Egemen Demirci take on the object properties of an awning to address questions about conceptual boundaries of abstraction, space, and exhibition practices. The two artists began working together on this project in Berlin and are now transferring the concept to the urban space of Baden-Baden, which they have observed in detail for this purpose. The minimalist, intensely colored awning, designed especially for Baden-Baden, creates a private space in public through its unusual dimensions. Yet when approached, the awning reveals screen-printed inscribed phrases such as “Guilt carries the deed.” The object thus becomes a metaphor for the sociopolitical turning away from questions of guilt and the concomitant arrogance of the perpetrator’s role. Viljoen and Demirci’s work invites the audience to reflect within this private-public space on the motivations in personal and public life that follow a similar path and create their own needs and spaces.
The locations of the Preludes will be announced on a city map on the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden website.
Save the Date:
State and Nature
Exhibition 19.06. – 17.10.2021
16.06. press conference
18.06. exhibition opening
State and Nature is curated by Çağla İlk and Misal Adnan Yıldız with Hendrik Bündge and Benedikt Seerieder.