BERLIN.- The resurgence of right-wing extremism in Europe and other parts of the world as well as the ensuing dangers, such as the aggravation of xenophobic policies including a more or less furtive racism, stand at the focus of the exhibition GLOBAL NATIONAL.
Thirteen artists from eight different nations examine the causes, manifestations and effects of these disastrous developments in this project conceived by Raimar Stange. The exhibition "GLOBAL NATIONAL" wants to take a stand in this democracy-threatening context, for a truly open and multicultural society, it aims to warn against the current shift to the right, it wants to raise awareness for racist thinking and analyze causes of right-wing populism aesthetically.
1. Oliver Ressler (*1970, lives and works in Vienna) We Have a Situation here, 2011, C-print, 92 x 130 cm
The striking text work We Have a Situation Here by Oliver Ressler shows dead black-clad men lying on the ground in a pile. This dramatic, cinematic staging posits questions about the justification of violence and the aggression that current neo-liberal economic policies stoke, which is then channeled by right-wing populists for their own purposes.
2. Ulf Aminde (*1969, lives and works in Berlin) Initiative "Herkesin Meydanı - Space for Everyone" The Keupstraße Memorial (Dummy 1.0), 2019 Polystyrene foam, 255 x 62 x 3 cm + augmented-reality app preview + FHD video, audio, 4 minutes
Ulf Aminde contributes memory culture as a form of resistance to the exhibition. His planned Mahnmal on Keupstraße and on the Herkesin Meydanı, which already won a municipal competition in 2016, memorializes two bomb attacks in Cologne in 2001 and 2004 by the right-wing terrorist group Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund (NSU). Not only does it work against (politically motivated) suppression and forgetting, but also for an active engagement against the militant neo-nationalism that is sometimes even covered up by the state and police. The Mahnmal memorial was designed as a "virtual house" that is activated by the smart phones of passers-by, so that, for example, videos become visible that deal critically with the assassinations, (militant) right-wing populism, and the discussion of these topics. A 1:10 scale model of the memorial is shown in the exhibition.
3. Michaela Meise (*1976, lives and works in Berlin) Liebezeit-Vanderbilt, 2017, wood, various materials, 90 x 116 x 40 cm
The Liebezeit-Vanderbilt bench by the Berlin artist Michaela Meise recounts recent German history. Correspondingly, the Berlin artist glued a cover of the magazine Pardon on this piece of furniture, reading "There is no GDR". If you open the seat of the bench, you can see the book cover of the popular West German self-help book Die Mutter und ihr erstes Kind [The mother and her first child], which was a bestseller in National Socialist times under the title Die deutsche Mutter und ihr erstes Kind [The German mother and her first child]. Two lines of the song Armer junger Krupp ["Poor young Krupp"], 1970, by the political rock band "Floh de Cologne" are carved into the backrest: Armer junger Krupp, dein Vater war so ein guter Nazi und dennoch nur zwei Millionen im Jahr. Armer junger Krupp, wäre er ein schlechter Nazi gewesen, müsstest du auf den Bau, oh yeah. ["Poor young Krupp, your father was such a good Nazi and still only $ 2 million per year. Poor young Krupp, would he have been a bad Nazi, youd have to work construction, oh yeah".] With this provocative object collage, Meise not only reminds us that fascism has always remained a latent problem in Germany even after the Third Reich, but focuses on the economic aspect of (neo-) fascism at the same time.
4. Dan Perjovschi (*1976, lives and works in Bukarest) Series of drawings 2005-2019, laser prints also elsewhere in the exhibition
The Romanian illustrator and sculptor Dan Perjovschi offers critical comments on the works in the exhibition and its subjects in his "political art cartoons. Wit and incisive opinions characterize the works of Dan Perjovschi that deepen, double check and vary selected aspects of GLOBAL NATIONAL.
5. Martha Rosler (*1943, lives and works in New York) Point n Shoot, 2016-2018, digital print, 112 x 168 cm. Courtesy Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin / Köln
In her photo collage Point n Shoot (2016) with an oversized depiction of Donald Trump himself, Martha Rosler gets to the heart of the legal gray area in which he operates, and of the violence of his followers. Martha Rosler attaches the likeness of Trump to the scarily true statement: "Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldnt lose any voters ok? it's like incredible". Information as a cautionary warning, in the tradition of John Heartfield and others, is part of this approachs aesthetic master plan. In the background, unarmed US citizens are named who were killed with firearms in recent years, all of them people of color.
6. Peter Friedl (*1960, lives and works in Berlin) Kill and Go, video, 1995, 10:17 minutes
With drastic and unambiguous words, Peter Friedl's video Kill and Go (1995) alludes to a racially motivated act that was of a uniquely criminal nature, namely the murder of four Romanies in 1994 in Austria. For several months, Friedls apparently cynical prod, which calls a criminal logic of racism to mind, was visible in eye-catching over-affirmation as illuminated signage in the form of commercial advertising, on a residential building on Europaplatz in Vienna. Affirmative only at first glance, Kill and Go was then "documented" by Peter Friedl in his eponymous video.
7. Christine Würmell (*1972, lives and works in Berlin) widersprechen, 2019, 8 signs, digital print on cardboard 40 x 40 cm, wooden slats, 170 cm each also elsewhere in the exhibition
With the portable demonstration signs widersprechen [disagree] (2019), Christine Würmell takes on an advertising campaign of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, a campaign from the end of 2018 that encouraged refugees to return to their homeland for a fee. The campaign placards hanging in public spaces were promptly pelted with paint bombs and adorned with critical statements. Photos of these activist interventions were then quickly circulated via "social media" on the internet. These photos were eventually used by Würmell for protest signs that are distributed throughout the exhibition space.
8. Olaf Metzel (*1952, lives and works in Munich and Berlin) Abreaktionsfilm, 1993, video, 2:15 minutes
In his Abreaktionsfilm [venting film] (1993), Olaf Metzel presents his intervention Türkenwohnung Abstand 12 000 DM VB [Turks apartment transfer fee 12 000 Deutschmark asking price] from 1982, or more specifically: the destructive process of this intervention. At that time, Metzel had, at the height of xenophobia against so-called "guest workers", offered a vacant room for rent in Berlin-Wedding in classified newspaper ads. He had taken over the room from a Turkish family, who had been evicted by their landlord, removed their furniture from the apartment and then cut a swastika into a wall of the one-room apartment with an angle grinder. For this mural, the artist then asked for the transfer fee mentioned in the ad. Motivation for this work was, wrote Metzel in a concept paper for the intervention, a statement by the former Berlin Senator of the Interior Heinrich Lummer, who said, to paraphrase, that you could smell Turks three meters against the wind".
9. Oliver Ressler with Martin Krenn (*1970, lives and works in Vienna) Die neue Rechte, 1995, print, 336 x 238 cm
The series of placards Die neue Rechte (1995) by the activist and artist Oliver Ressler, in cooperation with Martin Krenn, combines quotes of right-wing populist politicians with text fragments of leftist critique, and thereby aims to expose the racism in the structures of its identification and its allocations" (Ressler).
10. Candice Breitz (*1972, lives and works in Berlin) Profile, 2017, version B, video, 3:37 minutes Commissioned by the South African Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017 Featuring Igshaan Adams, Roger Ballen, Steven Cohen, Gabrielle Goliath, Dean Hutton, Banele Khoza, Gerald Machona, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Chuma Sopotela and Sue Williamson. Courtesy: KOW, Berlin
The video Profile (2017) by Candice Breitz clearly positions itself against conservative ideologies including an (ultimately racist) identity defined by birth. In this fictional as well as polyphonic selfportrait, 10 artists from South Africa, the so-called Heimatland/"homeland" of the Berlin-based artist, are shown. They all claim: "My name is Candice Breitz", to then mix the narration of their own" identity with that of Candice Breitz. In this manner, Candice Breitz, who herself remains invisible in the video, takes on 10 different "forms of identity" which differ, for example, in skin color, gender and age.
11. Marina Naprushkina (*1981, lives and works in Berlin) Office for Anti-Propaganda, The Emperor Is Naked, 2013, lecture-screening, 23 minutes
in Marina Naprushkinas video The Emperor in Naked (2013), the artist who is a co-initiator of the refugee project Neue Nachbarschaft Moabit [new neighborhood Moabit], by the way contemplates the precarious development of (European) nation states toward political insignificance, the battlefield of European refugee policies and the possibilities of art to react critically to political issues like these, while going for walks to selected, politically relevant places throughout the capital of Berlin.
12. Bethan Huws (*1961, lives and works in Berlin) - Untitled, 2008 (Black is a colour). Aluminum, glass, rubber, plastic letters, 75 x 50 x 4,5 cm - Untitled, 2008 (Read Red), Aluminum, glass, rubber, plastic letters, 75 x 50 x 4,5 cm Courtesy of the artist, private collection
In GLOBAL NATIONAL, Bethan Huws, known for her at times conceptual language-critical display cases and at times more poetically inclined wordplay vitrines, as well as for her panels, neons and objects that rub up against the life and work of Marcel Duchamp, shows the two word vitrines untitled from 2018, which spell out "READ RED" and "BLACK IS A COLOUR", respectively. With this, Bethan Huws not only recalls the by now historic conflict between left and right ideology, but also visualizes the "pointlessness" of racism by reducing "Black" to its original meaning. This is underlined by the fact that in this word vitrine, color differences black letters on a black background are barely discernible.
13. Nadira Husain (*1980, lives and works in Berlin)
- Global Bastard Education, 2019 (Vitrine 1), Wood frame, jeans and kalamkari (vegetable dyes painting) stitched, stickers, blue painted stones, painting and silk screen on paper. 80 x 135 cm
- ICI, autour de la mer, 2019 Vitrine 2),, Wood frame, jeans and kalamkari stitched (vegetable dyes painting), stickers, marble and dyed paper, drawing on paper. 80 x 135 cm
- Quelque part entre la bagarre et lamour, 2019. Gouache on canvas, 150 x 110 cm - Corps nouilles, 2019, Fine art print on newspaper paper, 42 x 30 cm Courtesy PSM Gallery, Berlin
Nadira Husains hybrid imagery bears witness to an intercultural understanding of self. The pop world of comics meets "indigenously Indian" motifs and also, for example, a flatly ornamental design, which alludes to Japanese aesthetics as well as decorative Western patterns. What is decisive here is that these different "styles" appear not only (separately) next to each other in these works but come together harmoniously to form a new whole. Nadira Husain creates a syncretic "third space" (Homi K. Bhabha) in her art, where she can then negotiate issues such as diversity, identity and migration.