press release

During the opening, 10 June, 19:00: performance by Hanne Lippard, “c u l8tr elevator”, and lights by Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff (with Joe Kay), Index Summer Stage on Kungsbro strand.

The exhibition presents new works by by the recipients of the ars viva award 2016, Flaka Haliti, Hanne Lippard, and the duo Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, produced specifically for the spaces at Index. The ars viva prize for visual arts has been awarded to emerging artists since 1953 by the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI (Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy at the Federation of German Industries) and is one of the most prestigious awards for young artists in Europe.

While not selected thematically, biography and an investigation of contemporary subjectivity in relation to present-day social and political conditions are important aspects of the artists’ work. They all share a consciousness about the different roles that artists inhabit today, and furthermore, an interest in critically investigating these roles and their relationship to economy and power. In contemporary society, networking and connectivity have a greater influence on social contacts than ever before. In the competition for attention and visibility, an enormous flow of information about products, individuals and events circulates through a multiplicity of formats. The images that are produced within these processes are smooth and clean, creating an omnipresence of constructed surfaces that conceal any uncertainty, ambivalence, or any topic that is sensitive or awkward nature.

The works by Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, Flaka Haliti and Hanne Lippard observe what effects an increasing formatting of the self and the continuous adaptation of appearance and behavior have on personal and professional relationships. In an impressively objective, poetic and humorous way, the artists examine their own roles within their social, discursive and urban contexts. Introducing displacement at the interface between subjectivity and projection, they discuss questions of representation, isolation and proximity, capitulation and resilience.

Photographs and objects by Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff create a set in the gallery space that is based on their activities with New Theater in Berlin which they founded in 2013. In the spirit of a community theater, New Theater presented a series of stage plays written, directed and produced by a group of international artists, whilst also dealing with the social and pragmatic realities of establishing a theater house fundamentally built on collaborations. In a similar way to Times Bar, which Henkel and Pitegoff operated formerly, New Theater also tested and negotiated possibilities of collective production.

Hanne Lippard uses language, and specifically her own voice, to create works that are built from fragments that the artist borrows and re-works from different channels of communication, such as music lyrics and online videos. Presented as performative readings and audio installations, the works use repetition and differentiation, consonance and variation, to evoke phrases and images associated with contemporary topics such as work, success, and lifestyles. Lippard’s topic is the way in which people communicate and experience each other. The free flow of sounds, sense and nonsense, forms a discourse in which the artist moves as an individual and as public figure.

In the work of Flaka Haliti, notions of belonging and relocation take on an additional meaning. In her installations she deals with the boundaries that separate states and people. They can be politically defined and under military surveillance, or run along private and social relationships, being constantly redrawn in an almost imperceptible way. Her interest is directed equally towards processes of migration and the status of the artist, addressing the conflict of freedom and constraint, recognition and endurance. For the exhibition at Index, Haliti introduces a sculptural depiction of her alter ego, “Joe”, who is used by the artist as a tool to respond to the framework of accelerated capitalist production and a mode of constant production following the market’s demand for new images and products. Joe is conceived as a self-critical commodity, acting as a vehicle to simultaneously embrace this system and master it, either for Flaka Haliti or Joe himself. In a way, Joe plays Flaka’s counterpart in her artistic production.

Previous exhibitions for ars viva 2016 have been presented at the Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe (10 October 2015 – 17 January 2016) and the Museum for Contemporary Art Leipzig (20 February – 22 May 2016). The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue (German/English) and a limited artist’s edition.

The Kulturkreis is the oldest institution for entrepreneurial support of the arts in Germany, founded in 1951 to support a critical aesthetic discourse after the war.

Opening events: During the opening of the exhibition, on 10 June, 6.30pm, artists Hanne Lippard, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff will present performance works on a specifically built outdoor stage on the Kungsbro strand riverfront that will be operated over the summer.