Nevin Aladag – Christina Dimitriadis – Kalle Hamm & Dzamil Kamanger – Daniel Knorr – Riikka Kuoppala & Julia Kuprina – Robert Lucander – Jonathan Monk – Anna Retulainen – Jani Ruscica – Nasan Tur
in cooperation with The Finnish Institute in Germany, curated by Christine Nippe
Opening: Saturday, June 4, 2016, 6 – 9 pm, with a performance by Dzamil Kamanger
Art in Motion
Podium Discussion with Christina Dimitriadis, Kalle Hamm, Dzamil Kamanger and Dr. Christine Nippe
Monday, 4 July 2016, 6 – 8 pm
Exhibition views PASSENGERS
Just like the passenger in Iggy Pop’s song, artists are constantly in motion and therefore it is not uncommon that they are involved in transnational productions. Networks, movement and everyday practices have all given rise to a new transnational space that needs to be explored. The manner in which the numerous stations of their biographies coincide signposts the changing locations of globalised artistic work. Their mobility links previously remote outposts, they form cross-boundary networks and create their works in a space that lies beyond national borders. They are attracted to different towns and cities and often have different ideas of what constitutes home and what lies between. The aim of the Passengers exhibition is to help promote a new understanding of the concept of mobility. Questions that become increasingly relevant in this context are: How do perception – and therefore also artistic practice – change as a result of mobility and migration? Can artists act as cultural translators? To what extent do they experience everyday living as a transnational life and thereby create a third artistic space beyond national cultural practices? And also: What do these changes mean for our curatorial practice or our understanding of art history beyond the confines of national state categorisations?
In Pattern Matching Nevin Aladag unites two topics that seem to be wholly unrelated – basketball – a sporting export from the United States – and oriental rugs – the most familiar commercial product from the Middle East. The two very different forms of cultural expression are combined in Aladag’s pattern to create a transnational fabric. The artist decorates her rugs with a dense collage while adhering to the lines and colours of a basketball court. The overlapping of the patterns that belong to different semantic systems (western sport versus oriental decorations) enables Aladag to give them a new meaning.
In her photo series Island Hoping, the Greek-German artist Christina Dimitriadis examines the images and mythology of the Mediterranean. Her photos show the sea washing around rock formations that change abruptly between hope and the imponderable. The pictures feature the exceptional lighting that is characteristic of Dimitriadis’s photography with a special, slightly hazy atmosphere. The inspiration for this series was a small black and white picture of the island of Helgoland, the origin of Dimitriadis’s family mythology and the start of a long migration story that finishes in Greece and Germany. Past and future, the personal and the collective merge and turn Island Hoping into a hybrid of north and south.
Kalle Hamm & Dzamil Kamanger
Kalle Hamm from Finland and his colleague Dzamil Kamanger from Iranian Kurdistan have been working together since 2000. The artistic duo use their work to explore cultural interaction and the global movement of people, goods and plants. The topics they examine range from imported colonial products to narratives of an abandoned Iranian village. Finely embroidered visas and passports made of glass beads remind us that although we live in a mobile, globalised world there are still constraints and borders that continue to restrict the paths that many people can take through life.
Daniel Knorr’s work Welcome describes the transformation points of our society: Tradition and folklore are represented by the black and white matryoschka dolls. They are enhanced by the modernising presence of a colourful doll – the ‘welcome’ one. This is the doll that marks the transformation and shows us the future of a pluralistic society that is constantly in motion and transforming. At the same time, the colourful doll is just the beginning of this vision of the future as it is the sole voice of the “other” and the visitor is invited to take this visual discourse out into wider society.
Riikka Kuoppala & Julia Kuprina
Helsinki-Kushyrgy is a collaborative video installation created by Finish artist Riikka Kuoppala and Julia Kuprina, an activist from the Mari El republic in Russia. The installation consists of two short documentary films that were both filmed in Mari El in 2011 and combined with archive material from the region dating back to the Soviet era. The Hill Mari are a small Finish-Hungarian indigenous people who live in the middle of Russia. During their research there were plans to build a damn on the Volga to expand a power plant in the nearby city of Cheboksary. The water level was so high, that several Hill Mari villages were threatened by flooding. Kuoppala and Kuprina decided to make their different, and in some cases contradictory, points of view show through in their installation: Kuprina’s film tells the story of a journey to her home village and the history of an amateur film studio, whereas Kuoppala focuses on political issues regarding the future of the region and her own role as an outsider.
Robert Lucander’s biography also features numerous international connections. His mother came from Finland and was sent to Sweden during the Soviet-Finnish wars (1939-1944) as an infant. Robert Lucander experienced a similar foreignness during his childhood in Helsinki: “I only had to say my name in Finland and the others knew that I belonged to the Swedish minority,” says the artist. Here in Berlin, where Lucander teaches at the University of the Arts, he is regarded as Finish. For Passengers he has selected a portrait of the Finish singer Tapio Rautavaara. His songs remind him of his childhood when he would listen to the radio in the kitchen with his mother and draw. He views music as the link between different times and places that can bring memories of places far away to life and make them briefly present in the here and now.
The World in Gay Pride Flags by Jonathan Monk is part of a large series of world maps that the artist started about 5 years ago. While his first work in the series The World in Jeans and T-Shirts was produced from his own clothes and can be read as a self portrait, he started using internationally known flag print fabrics to open up questions of symbolic representation. In many cultures the rainbow flag is understood as a symbol for tolerance and diversity. Wether it has been the Italian peace movement of 1961 or its later, varied adaption of the gay movement, the rainbow flag stands for liberal ideas beyond nationalistic positions and for a transnational community.
Finish artist Anna Retulainen lives in Berlin and captures her walks in different locations such as Berlin, Leipzig, Australia and Vienna in her glowingly expressive ink drawings. She strolls like a flaneur through the areas without a specific destination in mind. “My only aim is to concentrate my mind, to structure my understanding of the city and follow my own thoughts. I paint from memory. My pictures are attempts to return. The colours, gestures and rhythms are filtered by my memories.” Walking and observing, remembering and painting are combined in Anna Retulainen’s art – it creates a truly translocational fabric.
Jani Ruscica spent his early childhood in Italy. After visiting an art academy in Savonlinna in Finland, he studied sculpture and moving image in London and later at the Finish Academy of Fine Arts. These different stations of his life and his international experience of exhibitions are reflected in his video work Scene Shifts in Six Movements. A journey through the historical layers of different locations on several continents unfolds in six movements. However, it is primarily a journey of the mind. The sites, pictures, texts and music all evoke a long history of intercultural fractures and mutual understanding, differences and translation attempts.
Nasan Tur works with various media such as performance, video, drawing and sculpture. By taking observations of everyday life and appropriating them for art, his work often surprises or amuses the viewer. For City says… the artist wandered through urban locations and walked along streets and public spaces, paying close attention to the words on view, so he could incorporate them in his art. He gathered material from the writing on the walls of various cities such as Istanbul, Bucharest or Berlin so that he could reproduce them in layers over one another in his etchings. This created a dense network of messages that not only communicate the movement of the artist between these different contexts, but also the poetry of the street.