Exhibitions

Intermedians

April - October 2012

Stefan Strumbel, Holy Heimat, 2012, Foto: Martin Grothmaak
Stefan Strumbel, Holy Heimat, 2012, Foto: Martin GrothmaakStefan Strumbel, Heimat, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Martin GrothmaakStefan Strumbel, Holy Heimat, 2012, Foto: Martin GrothmaakArthur Morass, Ohne Titel, 1959, Foto: Vanessa MaasArthur Morass, Ohne Titel, 1982, Foto: Vanessa MaasArthur Morass Keramik, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, Foto: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg, 2012Arthur Morass Keramik, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, Foto: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg, 2012Arthur Morass Keramik, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, Foto: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg, 2012Arthur Morass Keramik, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, Foto: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg, 2012Gabi Dziuba trifft auf Jonathan Johnson, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Fred Dott, KunstvereinGabi Dziuba trifft auf Jonathan Johnson, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Fred Dott, KunstvereinGabi Dziuba, Scheisse, 1996 (mit Karl Fritsch), Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Fred Dott / KunstvereinGabi Dziuba, Buschstabenringe 2001 und 2004, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Fred Dott / KunstvereinJonathan Johnson, Nonne, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Fred Dott, KunstvereinJonathan Johnson, Obscenity, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Fred Dott, KunstvereinGabi Dziuba trifft auf Jonathan Johnson, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto: Fred Dott, KunstvereinKatharina Koppenwallner präsentiert: International Wardrobe, Installationsansicht in der Ausstellung „Gert & Uwe Tobias“, Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto/photo: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg Katharina Koppenwallner präsentiert: International Wardrobe, Installationsansicht in der Ausstellung „Gert & Uwe Tobias“, Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto/photo: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg Katharina Koppenwallner präsentiert: International Wardrobe, Installationsansicht in der Ausstellung „Gert & Uwe Tobias“, Kunstverein Hamburg 2012, Foto/photo: Fred Dott / Kunstverein Hamburg Hmong-Bluse, Provinz Guizhou (China) / Hmong-blouse, province Guizhou (China), Foto / photo: Henning Bock, 2012Arthur Morass, Ohne Titel, 1982, Foto: Vanessa MaasArthur Morass, Ohne Titel, 1959, Foto: Vanessa MaasArthur Morass, Ohne Titel, 1979, Foto: Vanessa Maas

Starting in April 2012, the Kunstverein Hamburg will launch a monthly series of exhibitions presenting a variety of different artistic positions and their aesthetic practice, which can be regarded as complementary to the annual programme. All the presentations are in effect interpolations, enhancing the regular exhibition programme either formally or in content. The effect of the additions will be to expand the concept of the annual programme to take in a range of objects and presentation types delivered in different media, thus developing further communicative potential. Fashion, jewellery and ceramics, as "Intermedians", introduce positions featuring both a purely artisan aspect and also thematic relevance to the successive exhibitions.

The Kunstverein can look back on numerous earlier occasions on which an exhibition provided the contextual setting for combinations of different media and different approaches, enabling the selected theme to be appreciated from differing perspectives, while also depicting and explaining the complexity of cultural production.

The juxtaposition of artworks, other artefacts and everyday objects in the context of their cultural history leads to productive associations of ideas. This is because the different perspectives offered (informative, interpretative, educational and creative) give exhibition visitors the chance to switch their reception level repeatedly and identify new cross-links and associations.

Upcoming:
Intermedian 04
Stefan Strumbel – Heimat
September 27 - October 24, 2012
Openig: Wedesday, September 26, 2012, 7 pm

Engagement with the heritage of interwoven folklore themes is one of the central preoccupations of the work of Stefan Strumbel (*1979, lives in Offenburg). That said, his works often centre on the concept of Heimat, or "homeland", a concept that serves on the one hand as a metaphor for the familiar and the shaping of identity, yet at the same time, in an increasingly globalised world, seems rather antiquated.

In his graphic art, collages, installations and objects, Strumbel investigates the Heimat concept and sends up folklore-based clichés using motifs and devices inspired by pop art and grafitti. "What the fuck is Heimat?" This provocative question is asked repeatedly and is indicative of the modern approach to confronting the traditional paradigm. Strumbel first came to attention through his cuckoo clocks, whose traditional attributes he subjected to aggressive alienation. In combination with their spectacularly garish colour schemes they seem to have entirely lost their aura as the revered icon of Strumbel’s Black Forest homeland.

However, Strumbel is not out to design new contexts for a souvenir: the point is to provoke and thereby to administer strident challenges to his public to think critically about what it understands by Heimat. He intends his artworks to be seen as vehicles, modes of transport in the geographical dimension, but also in terms of social, cultural and intellectual mobility. The Heimat construct thus becomes a metaphor for existential problems of identity.

What is my perception of myself? What reflects me in an outward direction? How, and in terms of what, do I define myself? Through its external siting by the rear wall of the Kunstverein building, this installation has been placed in a special kind of contact to the railway, the car-park and one of Hamburg’s main thoroughfares, in other words to a primarily functional and unglamorous yet much-frequented public space. In this way it acknowledges Strumbel’s artistic roots in graffiti, which is now ubiquitous and indeed almost traditional in such places. As for the Black Forest cuckoo clock, in this context of Hamburg’s Hanseatic – and hence fundamentally different – traditions and their symbols, it can only become a folkloric foreign body. By making the differences between regional Heimat constructs so obvious, a space opens up for contemplation of the exotic symbol, a space for detachment, in which transference to the observer’s own identity becomes possible through a process of reflection.

Stefan Strumbel will conclude the Kunstverein Hamburg’s "Intermedians" series by showing a banner on the outside facade of the Kunstverein as well as sculptures, drawings and neon signs.

Past:
Intermedian 01
Katharina Koppenwallner presents: International Wardrobe
April 12 - April 25, 2012

"International Wardrobe" is an unusual type of fashion project, designed and presented by Katharina Koppenwallner (*1966, lives in Berlin). She travels nationally and internationally, beyond the well-trodden paths of the major cities, in search of local and regional folk art. Her principal interest, and the focus of her research is in the field of folk costumes and other textiles such as cushion covers, for instance, which traditionally tend to be hand-made. This is no dilettantish, tourism-inspired collector enthusiasm: Koppenwallner is committed to a serious study of specific dress styles, patterns and techniques. She acquires individual garments locally, some of them decades old, and all with a real-world history, having truly belonged to someone, having been made for and duly worn by that individual person, and indeed showing all the signs of wear.

While in some cases a garment may undergo slight modification, in principle all are preserved as originals and are made available in due course for purchase via the International Wardrobe website. In each case the description of the individual item outlines its context and explains its significance in the cultural history of its country of origin, so that one is not simply buying a jacket or a scarf, but rather a piece of cultural identity complete with historical context.

In a throwaway society of mass production and standardised clothing patterns these personal, hand-made items with their symbols and ornamentation, sometimes alluding to myth and legend, represent a fundamentally different understanding of what clothing means. The potential of such clothing in creating distinctiveness vis-à-vis other folk groups, its historical evolution and the impact of major migrations, displacements or the various more or less arbitrary nationality distinctions on clothing: such are the themes that Koppenwallner expounds in substantial scholarly articles – two so far having dealt with the cultural history of Rumania and Indochina – in the process illuminating the significance formerly invested in the objects discussed. She pays particular attention to craft techniques, symbolism and organisational structures that have nowadays largely faded from view.

"International Wardrobe" is therefore almost like an island of focused attention in an age of universal levelling, in which everything seems to be available – but in fact some things are not, as their original significance has been buried under an avalanche of the new – of Levi’s jeans und American Apparel T-shirts. During its two-week run, "International Wardrobe" will occupy a central spot in the exhibition by Gert and Uwe Tobias, thus beginning the series of four "Intermedians" that will lend further depth to the craft and folklore themes in this year’s exhibition programme and also illuminate them from quite different angles.

Intermedian 02
Gabi Dziuba encounters Jonathan Johnson
May 17 - May 30, 2012

"I believe every era has its own characteristic forms of expression, its own ideas and goals. This is reflected in art, and in fashion, literature, philosophy. I think jewellery should do that too." (G. Dziuba)

Gabi Dziuba (* 1954, lives in Berlin) and Jonathan Johnson (* 1976, lives in Hamburg) are two master goldsmiths who understand jewellery design as an artistic discipline and consciously position themselves between high and low. Accepting influence from popular culture, music, fashion and art, they design objects that have a history of their own, a world away from the mere costly fashion accessory.

Dziuba and Johnson redefine the role of the jewellery wearer, making him or her into a co-designer – for it is only through public appearance and the act of showing the object that personal jewellery becomes an attitude and a (possibly political) statement. But even at an early design stage, both artists already involve the future wearers of the jewellery closely in their work. This open attitude to new ideas and approaches is also reflected in their close collaboration with musicians and contemporary artists.

Thus, for example, Gabi Dziuba has worked together frequently since the late 1980s with such artists as Günther Förg, Martin Kippenberger, Hans-Jörg Mayer, Heimo Zobernig and Andreas Hofer – and not only on specific objects, but also on exhibition and catalogue design projects. Jonathan Johnson, for his part, may design rings, pendants or cuff-links in a process of intensive dialogue with artists like Franz Ackermann, Bruce LaBruce, Bobby Conn, Rocko Schamoni or Angie Reed. Both Johnson and Dziuba frequently make use of commonplace or clichéd objects, gilding them or embellishing them with precious stones in defiance of goldsmithing taboos and boundaries. In the hands of these artists, footballs, buckets, cow-bells, keys or cheeseburgers are so adorned as to become an ironic comment on the exclusivity of classical "pieces of jewellery".

The point is nowhere made clearer than in the form of a chain pendant forming the letters of the word "shit". Both Dziuba and Johnson have designed such a pendant, though at dates over 10 years apart. While the Gabi Dziuba pendant of 1996 is notable for the roughness of its surface, the smooth and curving surface of the counterpart piece by Jonathan Johnson is gold, promptly evoking associations with the ostentatious jewellery sported on the hip hop scene. Both these pendants unsettle the viewer; they aim to provoke and to express an independent attitude. In some cases all that matters is who is wearing it, for example the musician and writer Rocko Schamoni, who could not be further removed from the hip hop attitude.

At the same time, Dziuba and Johnson are opening up jewellery design to new and unfamiliar forms, styles, and contemporary influences. In so doing they are venturing a creative tightrope walk between the fine arts and artistically inspired craftsmanship. They are in fact a perfect example of the productive overlaps in differing fields and disciplines that the Kunstverein seeks to present and demonstrate through its Intermedians series.

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Arthur Morass Ceramics
June 14 - June 27, 2012

For the first time ever, the Kunstverein Hamburg will be exhibiting a selection of the ceramics of Arthur Morass (1937-2012) in the context of the series of "Intermedians". Morass worked until retirement as a dentist in a South German village. Since the late 1950s, however, he has used his leisure hours to design sculptures and art objects.

He has always chosen to leave it to others to realise his formal ideas in practice. He has ceramic pieces made all over the world on the basis of rudimentary sketches, sometimes indeed mere verbal instructions, and his deliberately incomplete directions bring him a harvest of productive and creative completions.

The key initial prompt and at the same time the framework of reference for Morass can be identified as the trompe-l’oeil faience collection owned by his mother. Of his own accord, and independently of iconographic references, Morass evolved a formal language for his functional ceramics that closely resembles the design style of the Martin Brothers. These four brothers worked in London between 1873 and 1923. They created a style that marks the transition from decorative Victorian ceramic ware to the ceramic art of the 20th century.

Their bird design ceramics and their pots decorated with sea creatures were an inspiration for the work of Arthur Morass among others. In his hands, mermaids, cats, whales, hands and peacocks become ash-trays, while intestinal coils and other organic forms might turn into vases, or faces metamorphose into such things as storm-lanterns. His objects have never gone on sale and are still not for sale; only the occasional patient, after a painful session in the dentist’s chair, might be personally handed one of them as a consolation.