Jakob Spengemann, Akinori Tao

While We’re Gone

Image credits below

Jakob Spengemann
Akinori Tao
While We’re Gone

9 March –12 May 2024
Kunsthaus Hamburg

The two Hamburg artists Jakob Spengemann and Akinori Tao convert apparent voids into explicit statements. In their exhibition While We’re Gone, conceived especially for the Kunsthaus, aspects of place and time play a vital role. Visitors enter a site that has evidently been abandoned in the process of being remodelled. It is only a moment later that they notice the presence of sculptures and objets trouvés arranged into subtle compositions: window sills, a first aid kit or fire extinguishers function as displays, unfinished walls and cardboard boxes are converted into resonating bodies and some works themselves have assumed the form of building materials and music technology.

The interventions thus draw attention to the peripheries of the space, to its flaws and shortcomings. They orchestrate the exhibition space itself as a “work in progress”. A steady, gentle rustling and chirping can be heard in various places, interrupted by a melodic sound. This overall installation refers to the transience of the staged space and enquires into the temporal potential of architecture. In an atmospheric play with ambiguities, the exhibition hall serves as a link between the visible and the invisible as well as between production and presentation.

The project addresses the uncertain future and ongoing loss of useable space for many art and culture professionals in Hamburg. Thus, it also reflects on the current state of limbo of the Kunsthaus. Originally located in its own building at Ferdinandstor, the institution had to make way for the new building of the Gallery of Contemporary Art, part of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, in 1993. The Kunsthaus relocated to the former market hall, where it is based up to the present. Long-pending renovation work on the building and the expansion of the neighbouring concert hall, however, have necessitated a move in the near future.

Curated by Anna Nowak

Exhibition film

Jakob Spengemann (*1992, Henstedt-Ulzburg, DE) lives and works in Hamburg. He studied at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg in the classes of Raimund Bauer and Andreas Slominski. His works have been shown at MOM art space, Hamburg, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof and Galerie Magma Maria, Offenbach am Main, among others. He has received several scholarships, such as the grant from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.

Akinori Tao (*1981, Kagawa, JPN) studied at the Tokyo College of Photography, Kanagawa, JP, and at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg in the classes of Thomas Demand and Andreas Slominski. His work has been exhibited at venues such as MOM art space, Hamburg, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Galerie Magma Maria, Offenbach am Main, and Galerie Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Friday, 8 March 2024, 7 pm
Speakers: Anna Nowak (Kunsthaus Hamburg) & Melanie Roumiguière (DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme)
8 pm: DJ set by Nika Son

Guided tours
Friday, 22 March, 6 pm
Thursday, 11 April, 6 pm
Sunday, 12 May, 4 pm

Accompanying programme

Saturday, 9 March, 3 pm
Artist talk with Anna Nowak, Melanie Roumiguière, Jakob Spengemann, Akinori Tao & Sam Vernon

Friday, 22 March, 7 pm
Performance by Raymond Liew Jin Pin & Jascha Viehstädt

Thursday, 11 April, 7 pm
Discussion on the preservation of cultural venues
Among others with Andreas Schmidt (Molotow)

Sunday, 12 May, 4–6 pm

Kindly supported by

Image 1, 6: Installation view: Jakob Spengemann, Akinori Tao – While We’re Gone, Kunsthaus Hamburg 2024, Photo: Antje Sauer
Image 2: Jakob Spengemann, Front of House, 2024, Photo: Antje Sauer 
Image 3: Akinori Tao, Sandschloss, 2024 and Tanzsaal, 2024, Photo: Antje Sauer
Image 4: 
Jakob Spengemann, Verse_#1, 2024, Photo: Antje Sauer
Image 5: 
Akinori Tao, Ich bin gleich wieder da, 2021/24, Photo: Antje Sauer
Image 7: Akinori Tao, Banaschlange, 2019/24, Photo: Antje Sauer
Image 8, 9: Jakob Spengemann, Akinori Tao, Ein 1,- €, 2024, Photo: Antje Sauer