At a time in which there is a constant influx of new artists, the yearly Rundgang is a perfect way to showcase fresh talents from the grid. Though most of the time newly produced art is over- or, better yet, underwhelming, the Rundgang 50Hertz exhibition is not that type of a show.
Right at the heart of the 50Hertz - a joint effort of net operator 50Hertz, the Nationalgalerie, and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - is a thoughtful selection of four recent graduates from Berlin, Leipzig, and Hamburg art schools presenting their thesis work. The Rundgang 50Hertz isn’t just a Rundgang, but rather a unique exhibition giving us an insider's view into current debates surrounding culture, identity, and image-building.
The temporary exhibition space was designed by Florian Stirnemann (raumlaborberlin), and offers the viewer the possibility to move around within the round, blue space and explore the multi-layered exhibition by an all-female group of artists: Emma Adler, Susanne Keichel, Cosima zu Knyphausen, and Asana Fujikawa.
At a time when society is increasingly accustomed to digital abstraction and fake news, the artist Emma Adler references the thin line between real occurrence and visual representation. The thesis work titled “EEEEF#GE” is an installation of a Tesla coil - in its simplest element - a mock-up and a camera, and questions what is real and what is created. Once every minute the screen presents the song “The Empty” by the all-girl punk band Le Tigre:
“The stars are getting in and out of automobiles
And we keep wondering when we're gonna feel something real
Keep waiting for a Santa that'll never come
A real party not just people who're faking fun
But everything gets erased before it's even said
And all that glitters isn't gold when inside it's dead”
Emma Adler, “EEEEF#GE”
The rearrangement of objects and sound evoke the viewer to rethink their relationship to the object and space. At the same time, it sets up a dialogue in which it is not the viewer but the artist who decides what we perceive as real.
An artist also working on how we perceive images is Susanne Keichel. Her photo series “Fluchtlinien” is a close study on xenophobia and migration movement. It brings to the forefront the high amount of images circulated by the media that build fear of foreigners. The work collages the traces of migration - a refugee shelter, smartphones with an image of a container, German architecture - into an aesthetic composition of the reality. With her images, the artist emphasises the life of a refugee by capturing utterly banal objects and scenes to express the feeling of loss of home and identity.
Susanne Keichel, "Fluchlinien"
Where Keichel and Adler focus on the viewer, the artist Cosima zu Knyphausen choose to investigate the image. Zu Knyphausen started a painting project to understand how paintings can trigger and communicate the process of national identity-building. She draws inspiration from the Chile national icon painter, Johann Moritz Rugendas, and paints numerous variations of his painting “El Gran Cuadro”, in which she continually concentrates on details such as single colours, absorption, and depth in order to understand the process of national identity-building. The artist makes her mark by pushing the concentration of elements to the viewer, leaving an imprint of our perceptions.
From all four arists the work of Japanese arist Asana Fujikama is foremost figurative and in stead of questioning how we perceive an image, she creates her own imaginairy fairytale. A sculptural imagining of handmade ceramic - the so-called “Waldmenschen” - and mythical drawings question how we deal with changes. The work “Waldmenschen” is based on the artist’s drawn narrative, wherein humans transform into plants and are inspired by European and Japanese mythologies.
Asana Fujikawa, "Waldmenschen"
Born and raised in Japan notions of her heritage are visible in the use of texture, shape, and colour. A sense of the expressive materials, moulded with precision and control, come to expression in the entangled details of the objects. “Waldmenschen” is an exploration of human potential, rich in its signification to nature. Rather than the frightening idea of losing control, the recurrent feeling in her work is one of power and strength.
The artists in this exhibition provoke a discussion on social structures and identity-building, rather than giving us clear answers for how to deal with current debates. By giving us several perspectives, the exhibition offers a deep understanding of how we as humans are able to construct our own identity.
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Rundgang 50Hertz is on display until August 13
Tue.–Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.