Image 1: Sam Venon, Alter-Reservoir (detail), Kunsthaus Hamburg 2024, Courtesy Sam Vernon
Image 2: Installation view We’ll be right back!, MOM art space 2021, © Jakob Spengemann, Akinori Tao, Photo: Jaewon Kim
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
While We’re Gone
In their exhibition While We’re Gone, conceived especially for the Kunsthaus, Jakob Spengemann and Akinori Tao highlight apparent voids. At first sight, it seems as if the exhibition space has been abandoned in the midst of being remodelled. It is only a moment later that sculptures, objets trouvés and sound arranged into subtle compositions draw attention to the peripheries of the space, to its flaws and shortcomings. 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 site itself remains a “work in progress”.
This project refers to the transience of the staged space and enquires into the temporal potential of architecture. It addresses the uncertain future and ongoing loss of useable space for many art and culture professionals in Hamburg. At the same time, the two artists reflect on the current state of limbo of the Kunsthaus. It was relocated from its original location at Ferdinandstor to the former flower market hall in 1993. Long-pending renovation work on the building and the expansion of the neighbouring concert hall have necessitated another move in the near future.
Curated by Anna Nowak
With her site-specific installations, Sam Vernon creates dynamic visual worlds. She explores questions of representation with regard to the issues of labour, gender and cultural diversity, turning a critical lens on institutional histories. The artist scans, prints and copies her own drawings and mixed media works on paper alongside found materials, which she assembles into large-format wall collages.
In her first solo exhibition in Germany, Sam Vernon explores the fate of the Kunsthaus. She personally has already moved over 30 times and is quite familiar with the challenges involved: administration, storage, archiving. Corresponding with the history of the building in which the Kunsthaus Hamburg is located today, the installation Alter-Reservoir focuses on the significance of working practices and the transmission of knowledge and history. Once a market hall for flowers, fruit and vegetables, this was a place characterised by communal labour. As preparation for the exhibition, the artist sifted through the archive and storage inventories of the Kunsthaus. In her newly developed photomontages, she combines autobiographical experiences with historical material such as exhibition posters, abandoned artist portfolios, found objects and documents from the institution. She forms meaning and connection to place through the process of speculating forgotten ephemera as an attempt to illustrate archival history.
Curated by: Anna Nowak (Kunsthaus Hamburg) and Melanie Roumiguière (DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme)
The exhibition of Sam Vernon is supported by the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.