If the Berlin Wind Blows My Flag. Art and Internationalization before the Fall of the Wall
Agnes Denes. Early Work
Exhibition opening on Friday, September 8, 2023, 6 p.m.
With screening in public space "Contemporary Women Artists in Dialogue with Agnes Denes."
"If the Berlin Wind Blows My Flag" takes a look at the artistic scenes in West Berlin before the fall of the Wall through the history of the DAAD's Berlin Artists' Program. As part of the residency program, international cultural workers were invited to the city starting in 1963 to save West Berlin from "cultural isolation." An exhibition in three chapters - at the n.b.k., the daadgalerie, and the Galerie im Körnerpark - as well as events at the Akademie der Künste illuminate the role the program played in the formation and networking of artistic practices during the Cold War and interrogate its cultural-political orientation. The focus is on the activities of the Berlin Artists-in-Residence Program, which was founded 60 years ago by the U.S. Ford Foundation and continued by the DAAD from 1965 onward, particularly with regard to the politically motivated background of the intended internationalization of the West Berlin art scene.
At theGalerie im Körnerpark, Agnes Denes' first solo exhibition in Germany since 1978, entitled "Agnes Denes. Early Work" traces those ideas she developed for a Berlin Künstlerprogramm fellowship that never materialized. In addition to a newly conceived wall piece, early photographic and drawing works from the 1970s and 1980s will be shown, which continue to shape Denes's artistic program today and address questions of science, ecology, and body politics.
The exhibition at n.b.k. focuses on artistic forms and positions in Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s, presented in dialogue with contemporary artists* (Ieva Epnere, Kasia Fudakowski, Isaac Chong Wai).By means of historical projects in public space (such as ADA - Actions of the Avant-Garde and Hotel Room Event or actions by Daniel Buren, Endre Tót, Milan Knížák), works of West Berlin Critical Realism (Bettina von Arnim, Maina-Miriam Munsky) and Maija Tabaka's painting from the former USSR, or the international network around Jürgen Schweinebraden's EP Gallery in East Berlin, the interplay of artistic movements within and beyond the borders of the divided city is traced.
In thedaadgalerie, the focus is on questioning the genesis and cultural-political mission of the Berlin Artists' Program in its first ten years. Using historical works (including those by KP Brehmer, Wojciech Fangor, George Rickey, Bridget Riley, and Emilio Vedova) and new productions referencing documents and ephemera from the program's archive [including those by Contemporary And (C&) and Sonya Schönberger], artistic networks will be tapped and established institutional narratives renegotiated.
Two days of events at the Akademie der Künste will be dedicated to the interdisciplinary orientation of the Berlin Artists-in-Residence program and the close collaboration between the two institutions since their founding. On the one hand, the focus will be on filmic and artistic works created in the 1970s that reflect on West Berlin as a place to live and a divided city from the perspective of the fellows (including Marcel Broodthaers, Daniel Buren, Safi Faye, Edward Kienholz). On the other hand, the Electroacoustic Studio located in the AdK, which has its origins in the East Berlin Laboratory for Acoustic-Musical Border Problems, will be thematized on the basis of the work of Frederic Rzewski, one of the first fellows, and contemporary sound artists (Clara Maïda, Karen Power).
Films by fellows and other artists will be presented at two film screenings in public space. In Körnerpark, videos by contemporary women artists will be shown that enter into dialogue with Agnes Denes and her work. At Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin-Kreuzberg, cinematic approaches to West Berlin as an urban living space will be presented, some of which come from the audiovisual archive of the DAAD's Artists-in-Berlin program.
The creation of collaborative situations defines the artistic practice of Alicja Rogalska, who has designed a mediation program for the cooperation project. Up-to-date information on dates and actions will be announced on the websites of the participating institutions.
Curators: Nóra Lukács, Melanie Roumiguière
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Associated curators: Kaspar Aebi, Malte Giesen, Krisztina Hunya, Yolanda Kaddu-Mulindwa, Natalie Keppler, Angela Lammert