Eccentric 80s: Tabea Blumenschein, Hilka Nordhausen, Rabe perplexum, and Contemporary Accomplices

Eccentric 80s: Tabea Blumenschein, Hilka Nordhausen, Rabe perplexum, and Contemporary Accomplices
25 March – 21 May 2023
Kunsthaus Hamburg

An exhibition and publication project by Burcu Dogramaci, Ergül Cengiz, Philipp Gufler, Mareike Schwarz, Angela Stiegler.

Tabea Blumenschein (1952–2020), Hilka Nordhausen (1949–1993), and Rabe perplexum (1956–1996) acted ex-centrically in several senses: outside the centre of attention, deviating from social norms and often also from institutionalised art. The results of their productions – performances, readings, films, concerts or murals – were sometimes fleeting, ephemeral and thus less marketable at the time. Blumenschein, Nordhausen and perplexum worked in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. At the time, they represented non-recognised gender and identity images and lived sexual orientations non-conformably. Their work transcended the narrow boundaries of genres and modes of expression: Hilka Nordhausen, for example, founded the off-space Buch Handlung Welt, which was a bookshop, art space and social contact zone. Tabea Blumenschein worked as a performer, designed costumes for film and theatre, and left behind a body of drawings and paintings. Rabe perplexum realised performances and actions in public space in collaboration with friends and confidants, painted and was one of the early digital video artists.

The exhibition and publication project focuses on themes such as subculture, queerness, performative and collaborative ways of working. It tells a different story of the art of the 1980s in the Federal Republic of Germany; beyond the great male master narrative that has dominated the narrative of these years until now.

The contemporary artists Ergül Cengiz (*1975) (3 Hamburger Frauen), Philipp Gufler (*1989) and Angela Stiegler (*1987) question the positions of the 1980s from today’s perspective. Their structurally buried work will be activated on the basis of archive material, exchange with companions and their own artworks: Together with the art historians Burcu Dogramaci and Mareike Schwarz, an exhibition project is being created in which artistic and art-historically situated knowledge is combined. In this way, the three positions from the 1980s are made accessible for new perspectives of reception, both in relation to each other and to the contemporary artworks.

Angela Stiegler found Tabea Blumenschein through filmmaking and was in personal contact with her from 2016 until her unexpected death in 2020. Stiegler develops her artistic approach from sculpture and negotiates body politics by using the body as a medium in the form of video and performance. Her poster series We should all be bodys(2017) was created after a joint visit to the International Garden Exhibition IGA with Blumenschein at the Gärten der Welt in Berlin Marzahn. Ergül Cengiz realises site-specific ephemeral wall works with the artist group 3 Hamburger Frauen (with Henrieke Ribbe and Kathrin Wolf) and has already worked intensively with Hilka Nordhausen in a wall work for the Kunstverein in Hamburg. Philipp Gufler is interested in Rabe as a queer position of the 1980s and shows two new collaborative quilts. The silkscreen work Quilt #08 (Rabe perplexum) (2015) and the video installation Becoming Rabe (2016) also stem from this exploration.

For the first time, Blumenschein, Nordhausen and perplexum will be shown in one exhibition and in the cities where they worked: Munich (Lothringer 13 Halle), Berlin (Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten) and Hamburg (Kunsthaus). A German- and English-language publication has been published by b_books, Berlin, to accompany the exhibition. An extensive programme of events with films, readings, workshops and discussions with contemporary witnesses accompanies the exhibition.

Curated by Ergül Cengiz, Burcu Dogramaci, Philipp Gufler, Mareike Schwarz, Angela Stiegler.

Guided tours
25/03 2023, 4 pm & Talk, 5 pm
6/04 2023, 6 pm & Reading, 7 pm
13/04 2023, 6 pm
30/04 2023, 3 pm
3/05 2023, 6 pm
11/05 2023, 7 pm & catalogue presentation, 8 pm

Accompanying programme

25/03 2023, 5 pm
Screening & Talk Nicht Mann, nicht Frau, nur Rabe by Rabe Perplexum with Philipp Gufler

6/04 2023, 19 Uhr / 7 pm
Reading: Eckhard Rhode & Sarah Khan
With own works and texts by Hilka Nordhausen & Veranda Spuk

22/04 2023, 6 pm – 1am
Lange Nacht der Museen

27/04–6/05 2023
Satellite programme
Nukleus-Karoviertel & the 70s/80s with Hilka Nordhausen’s contemporary witnesses.
Guided tours through the district ((29/04, 3 pm & 4/05, 5 pm).

11/05 2023, 20 Uhr / 8 pm
Catalogue presentation with reading and guided tour

20/05 2023, 18 Uhr / 6 pm
Screening & Talk Zagarbata by Tabea Blumenschein with Angela Stiegler & Monika Treut
(B-Movie, Brigittenstr. 5)

In April and May Metropolis Cinema shows films by Uwe Schrader, Věra Chytilová, Ulrike Ottinger, Klaus Maeck and David Larcher. Details on

Collage (Tabea Blumenschein in Die Tödliche Doris, Autofahrt in Deutschland, Oper von Wolfgang Müller & Nikolaus Utermöhlen, Sängerinnen und Performerinnen: Hermoine Zittlau, Etsuko Okazaki, Tabea Blumenschein. Uraufgeführt im Rahmen der Opernfestspiele des minimal club, BBK München am 4.12.1987 © Archiv der Tödlichen Doris, Foto: Peter Heim; Hilka Nordhausen, in der Buch Handlung Welt neben dem Wandbild von Peter Dietrich Schöne Straße, Juli 1978, Foto: Michael Kellner © Michael Kellner; Rabe perplexum beim Malen in der Kunsthalle 20, ca. 1984, Fotografie, Monacensia, Nachlass Rabe perplexum / Installation views, Kunsthaus Hamburg, 2023, Photos: Hayo Heye

The research and catalog are supported by Bayerischen Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, das Kulturreferat der Landeshauptstadt München, das Bundesprogramm “Neustart Kultur” der Stiftung Kunstfonds sowie die Spartenoffene Förderung und die bezirklichen Förderfonds der Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, die Erwin und Gisela von Steiner-Stiftung, die Kulturstiftung der Stadtsparkasse München, die Liebelt-Stiftung Hamburg, das Neustart Kultur-Stipendium der Stiftung Kunstfonds, die Prinzessin Therese von Bayern-Stiftung und die Stiftung IMAI – Inter Media Art Institute, Düsseldorf und Mondriaan Fonds. Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Monacensia im Hildebrandhaus.