Walid Raad's 'Cotton Under My Feet: The Hamburg Chapter' coincides with International Summer Festival 2023
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Walid Raad's 'Cotton Under My Feet: The Hamburg Chapter' coincides with International Summer Festival 2023
Walid Raad, Epilogue II: The Constables, 2021, seven pigmented inkjet prints, 40 x 60 in. (101.6 x 152.4 cm.) © Walid Raad. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert.

HAMBURG.- In cooperation with the International Summer Festival 2023 at Kampnagel in Hamburg, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is hosting a special project by the Lebanese- American artist Walid Raad (b. 1967). The Hamburg Chapter is an adaptation of Raad’s presentation Cotton Under My Feet at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid (2021/2022) and consists of a parcours through the galleries of the Kunst- halle’s original building. Beginning with the Old Masters, the intervention forges connections between artworks on view from the permanent collection by juxta- posing them with selected objects and Raad’s own works. Among the latter are supposed finds from the museum’s storage depot as well as video installations.

The presentation highlights historically relevant details and facts about the development of the collection and interweaves them with current events. In the process, links between politics, diplomacy and historical entanglements come to the fore – from the Nazi era to the Middle East conflict to the climate crisis. Visi- tors encounter a narrative that mixes fact and fiction, casting the history of the Hamburger Kunsthalle in a whole new light. In 1992, Baron Heinrich Thyssen- Bornemisza, owner of the second largest private art collection in the world, trans- ferred his collection to Spain. He had previously considered Hamburg as destina- tion, so that his Caspar David Friedrich painting »Easter Morning« could meet up again with its artistic twin »Early Snow« at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Although the Baron did not succeed in reuniting the two paintings, he did give Hamburg several other works of art. But the selection of objects was so bizarre that they had never before been exhibited – until Walid Raad asked to see and display them. Historical and fictional worlds collide here, with images of clouds mystery- ously appearing on the reverse of some Old Master paintings, goblets attracting certain species of arthropods, and painted angels in the act of restoring them- selves.

On selected dates during the exhibition, the artist himself will guide visitors through the Kunsthalle’s collection by way of exclusive performance tours (ca. 80 minutes). Even outside of these dates, visitors can let Walid Raad’s lively stories and interpretations guide them through the exhibition via an audio tour available in the Hamburger Kunsthalle app (free download or 4 euros when loaning a device).

A detailed booklet (German/English) with an introduction to the exhibition is also available free of charge. In addition, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation has published an English-language catalogue entitled Walid Raad, Cotton Under My Feet (2022), which is available for the bookstore.

Walid Raad (b. 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon) lives in New York, where he teaches at The Cooper Union. He participated in documenta 11 and 13 and has had important solo exhibitions at the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Louvre in Paris, and MOMA in New York. Raad’s works are part of numerous international collections, including those of MOMA, New York; the TATE Modern, London; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; and the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Hamburger Kunsthalle
'Cotton Under My Feet: The Hamburg Chapter'
August 10th, 2023 - November 12th, 2023

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