BACK TO BERLIN
Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art
Opening: September 20, 2014; Closing: January 17, 2015
On September 20, the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art will inaugurate a first set of exhibitions curated by Dr. Aya Lurie, the museum’s new director and chief curator, together with artists and curators from Israel and abroad.
Letter from Mr. Faustus: Seven Adaptations from Berlin
Curated by Amir Fattal and Stephan Köhler
In his book Doctor Faustus, Thomas Mann writes about the concept of a time triangle. Through the character of Dr. Serenus Zeitblom, Mann describes an event that took place in 1912, just before the First World War, but he does so in 1944, already aware of the coming end of the second. Mann is conscious of the fact that by the time his book is done, the readers will experience the story in yet a third point in time, sometime in the future. Each of these points – the original story, its novelization, and its experience by future readers – grounds historical events in a new context and opens a new perspective.
This exhibition presents a selection of different artworks produced in Germany in the past ten years, based on different strategies of artistic adaptation. The starting point for each piece exhibited here is a literary, musical or filmic milestone that is both culturally significant as an artistic masterpiece and as a historical document shedding light on the turbulent politics of 20th-century Germany.
The duality of rigid structure and rational thinking combined with mystic emotions rooted in medieval times has been explored by many German artists throughout the century. In recent years, Berlin has been transformed into a new cosmopolitan metropole, attracting an influx of non-German artists inspired by its multicultural and historical layers to deal with these themes by bringing their own sensitivity and cultural background into the process.
Using diverse concepts and techniques, the artists transform the inspirational works into new contemporary pieces by enhancing them with new context and complexity aimed at dealing with themes like historical memory, collective trauma, immigration, and the clashing of non-German and German cultures. These transformations are colored by the genuine mood of curiosity and estrangement with which most artists encounter a different culture. In the works on display, these contacts deal with typical German themes like challenging preexisting norms or social exclusion leading to fear and suspicion. Working through these issues, specifically in the context of Berlin, also sheds light on important political and cultural issues contemporary Berliners cope with on a daily basis.
Curating artists Amir Fattal and Stephan Köhler will meet the public in a gallery talk.
Participating artists: John Bock, Amir Fattal, Andy Graydon, Mattias Härenstam, Hajnal Németh, Amie Siegel, Ming Wong