press release

The average citizen of the modern Western world owns around 10,000 things—a mind-blowing number. Driven by mass production and mass consumerism, this deluge of stuff has drawn censure from cultural critics from the dawn of industrialization to the present day. Things have always played a salient role in art, but in recent years, various academic disciplines (ethnology, cultural scholarship, material culture studies, thing studies) have contributed to a new and more favorable assessment. Two surprising hypotheses: Things can affect our lives in highly positive ways. And: By observing how someone engages with things, we can gain learn a great deal also about his or her self-relation as well as social relationships.

The exhibition presents works that reflect personal stances on things. The twelve international artists consider objects of everyday life in unwonted and striking perspectives, altering them in ways that allow for ambivalence between familiarity and alienation. They make relations among things and between things and us visible by examining them in installational arrangements.

Are there preferences for certain things? Do the installations hew to a specific aesthetic? How does the viewer perceive them? What is the role of the "surface" of things in this context? What does the object reveal about its particular history? What does the way we look at things tell us about culturally and gender-specific qualities projected on them? What inferences does ownership of things—the way they belong to a specific person as unique attributes, even extensions of the body into the sphere of appearances—permit? Should the objects in the exhibition also be read as self-portraits by the artists?

Reserved, observing, playful, ironic, or malicious: Each work presents an unconventional and previously unexplored approach to things, phenomena, and relationships, charting new trajectories of visual and sensory perception as well as intellectual reflection.

only in german

The Love of Things / Die Liebe zu den Dingen

Wiebke Bartsch, Alexandra Bircken, Karla Black, Kristina Braein, Sylvie Fleury, Andreas Gloel, Surasi Kusolwong, Al Masson, Roman Signer, Florian Slotawa, Erwin Wurm, Haegue Yang.

Susanne Düchting, Gail Kirkpatrick, Julia Wirxel.