2018 marks the centenary of the 1918 Kiel mutiny, a revolt by German sailors that was initiated in Wilhelmshaven by the end of the First World War, triggering the November Revolution. As a consequence Emperor Wilhelm II abdicated and the Weimarer Republic was proclaimed. The first German democratic republic was characterized by conflict, power struggle and instability, eventually resulting in Hitler’s seizure of control and the Third Reich. It was also a time of radical change beyond political structures. Artists, architects and writers actively incorporated socialist ideas within the aesthetic discourse of expressionist movement.
Hundred years later, in her first institutional solo show Modified Limited Hangout the London based artist Agata Madejska will be looking at individual’s positioning in society and its political systems. Amid growing concerns about current technologies, mass media communication, global political, economical and environmental crises questions arise whether there is need for a new artistic form of utopia such as i.e.in the Crystal Chain (Gläserne Kette), an exchange of letters initiated by Bruno Taut in 1918.
For a duration of three months Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven will house a microcosm of site-specific works, sound installations, photographs, light sensitive objects, sculptures and works on paper reflecting upon historical utopian movements, contemporary search for alternatives, political tactics of concealment, audience control and surveillance.
The lower galleries of the Kunsthalle have been covered with the carpet installation Voyage, Voyage, 2018, based on the grid of land purchased in Texas in 1848 by Icarians—early egalitarian communist settlers, while lines of curtains meander through grey painted main galleries diluting its architecture. Be Water My Friend, 2018, resembles table skirting sometimes used at private receptions or during political conventions. Quiet monologs fill the space underneath floating fabric gable roofs—Mistakes Were Made, 2018, is an intimate reflexion on private and public relationship management complemented by light sensitive drawings changing their appearance throughout the course of the exhibition. Referring to the 2013 Walkie Scorchie incident Technocomplex, 2017, is another group of active objects, which develop an uncontrolled darkening process while monitoring the surrounding space. Both groups of works reflect upon the conflicting characteristics of the photographic medium, which equally allows credibility and dubiousness.
On the ground floor level site-specific aluminium installations appear and disappear incorporated in the architecture of the Kunsthalle. Loser’s Loss, Winner’s Gain, 2018, a set of varnished curved aluminium sheets brings to mind wall pieces by Donald Judd while being reminiscent of steel elements used in corporate architecture. Along the low concrete walls several aluminium sheets have been suspended as part of the installation Simon Says, 2018, which refers to the Josephus Problem as explained in Edmund Wingate’s A Plain and Familiar Method for Attaining Knowledge and Practice of Common Arithmethic. Here the artist explores concepts of chance, lot and anonymisation in relation to empathy. Some large abstract photographs from the series Rise, 2018, depict photochemical smog. This chemical aspect of the photographic pheno-
menon appears here as a phantom, an omnipresent man made organism, which instead of rendering visible obstructs our view. By exploring dependencies and appearances the artist is investigating relationships between the individual and the collective as well as between the private and the public.
Where should we turn to in order to arrive where exactly? is a chain letter between Nina Franz, Rebekka Ladewig and Eva Wilson, which has been published in conjunction with the exhibition. Inspired by Bruno Taut’s chain letter Crystal Chain (1919/20) their dialogue circles around the questions of current political and technological shifts, hyperobjects, disorientation and alternative futures. Publication design by Studio Mathias Clottu.
Agata Madejska (*1979 in Warsaw, Poland) lives and works in London. She was awarded the renowned Contemporary German Photography grant by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, Essen in 2008, as well as the Emerging Artist Award of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2011 and the Grant for the Arts, Arts Council of England in 2015. Previous selected solo and group shows include Technocomplex, Parrotta Contemporary Art, Stuttgart (2017); Place. Tlomackie 3/5, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw (2017); Entoptic Screening, Galeria ASP, Warsaw (2016); Johanna Jaeger & Agata Madejska, Kunstraum griffelkunst, Hamburg (2016); Kingly Things, Chandelier Projects, London (2015); Form Norm Folly, Kunstverein Krefeld, Krefeld (2014); Conflict, Time, Photography, Tate Modern, London (2014), Museum Folkwang, Essen and Albertinum Dresden (2015); Twisted Entities, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2013); Man and his Objects, Museum Folkwang, Essen (2012); Made in Germany Zwei, kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2012); Menos tiempo que lugar, Palacio National de las Artes, Buenos Aires (2010); reGeneration 2, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne (2010) and Aperture, New York (2011); Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London (2010).
The exhibition Modified Limited Hangout is funded by Stiftung Niedersachsen, Oldenburgische Landschaft, Verein der Kunstfreunde für Wilhelmshaven e.V., Wilhelmshaven Touristik & Freizeit GmbH and Land Niedersachsen.
Artist: Agata Madejska
Venue: Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Wilhelmshaven
Exhibition title: Modified Limited Hangout
Date: October 21, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Text/Press release and images provided by the event.
© Agata Madejska & Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Wilhelmshaven GERMANY E.U.