Exhibition examines how artists have defined and constructed "space" from the 1960s to today

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Exhibition examines how artists have defined and constructed "space" from the 1960s to today
Jacqueline Hen (*1989), Inflect, 2018. Acrylspiegel, Holz, LEDs, Motoren, Arduino, Ton © Courtesy Jacqueline Hen, Photo: Fred Dott.

HAMBURG.- In Out of Space, the Hamburger Kunsthalle examines how artists have defined and constructed »space« from the 1960s to the present day. Examples of Minimal and Conceptual Art are placed in dialogue with works by young contemporary artists that render tangible their exploration of physical space in the digital age. The starting point for the exhibition is formed by the performative work Untitled (1968) by Robert Morris – one of the leading representatives of Minimalism – in which 16 aluminium screens set up in the gallery invite visitors to walk through them as if in a labyrinth, whereby they themselves become the objects of contemplation and part of the installation. Donated to Hamburger Kunsthalle by Susanne & Michael Liebelt (Hamburg) in 2020 it is the centrepiece of the exhibition.

Examples of (spatial) installations, sculptures and videos by around 20 international artists have been arranged according to four main themes: one’s own body as a medium of spatial perception, extended (multimedia) space, space as a sensory experience, and space as a medium of architecture. Some of the works on display come from the Kunsthalle’s own collection, including recent donations and acquisitions, while others were loaned by young artists from Hamburg, Cologne and Berlin, some of them created especially for OUT OF SPACE. The latter include digital works by Armin Keplinger (b. 1982) and Manuel Rossner (b. 1989) that enable visitors to move around in a virtual extension of the Gallery of Contemporary Art of Hamburger Kunsthalle by using virtual reality headsets.

Even before the spatial turn at the end of the 1980s defined spaces not only according to physical and geographical categories but also as social constructs and societal orders, the American Minimalists were using reduced formal languages to investigate the interactions between space, object and agents. Over the past thirty years, our lives have shifted inexorably into the digital realm, drastically changing and expanding the concept of space. Today, space is therefore increasingly construed through media. This represent both opportunities and a challenge, not only for visitors and artists, but for museums as well: The artist Manuel Rossner donated his artwork How did we get here? (2021) thereby adding a first NFT (non-fungible token) to the collection of Hamburger Kunsthalle. OUT OF SPACE thus spans an arc leading all the way to today’s artistic-conceptual discussions regarding the definition of space, a topic that is as relevant as ever.

Featured artists: Jürgen Albrecht, Angela Anzi, Cabrita, Dan Graham, Jacqueline Hen, Armin Keplinger, Hubert Kiecol, Jan Köchermann, Axel Loytved, Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Charlotte Posenenske, Manuel Rossner and Monika Sosnowska.

Exhibition curators: Jan Steinke and Ifee Tack (Research Assistants)

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