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30.4 - 7.8. 2016

Click here for the 360° Panorama of the exhibition [1]

The degree of individual and collective, spiritual, ecological, and economic exhaustion and burnout we are experiencing today has led to a unique sort of 21st century melancholy. This is the result of an inability to differentiate between economics and politics. Eliminating the public sector, deregulating markets, and significant cuts in social security have been seen as economic panaceas for decades. And when markets are deregulated, life is deregulated as well. An economy of desires running on empty serves as the motor leading to an exhaustion of life and squandering of resources.

The exploitation of the earth, warming of the atmosphere, overpopulation, and the far-reaching consequences of the »New World Disorder«, such as hunger, poverty, waves of refugees, civil wars, and terrorism, are manifestly unstoppable. While the present continues to hyperventilate, shaping the future and the course of history has become something inconceivable.

For Sigmund Freud, the »deep and painful malaise« of melancholy is characterized by a »withdrawal of interest in the external world« and »loss of the capacity to love«. During the Romantic period, the pensive wistfulness and exuberant idealism of the melancholic were still seen as a divine madness common in people doing creative work.

The artworks on display at the exhibition and the symposium/performance »A Government of Times« [2] invite us to pause for a moment, reorient ourselves, and reflect on new perspectives, raising questions about political fantasy and a different form of acceleration - an experimental, navigational process where we can discover a universe of possibilities.

About the artists

Gregory Barsamian

uses the precursors of cinematic technology to connect stasis and movement in his sculptures. Numeous »Runner« (2008) circulate on a rotating saw blade: their haste appears to have no other aim than to keep up with the pace.

Stefan Brüggemann

designs colossal text works that display their poetic strength through their simplicity. »time« (2014) speaks of the current »Acceleration Totalitarianism« (Hartmut Rosa) in a variation  on a simple sentence, but reminds us that death will inevitably put an end. »to be political it has to look nice« (2003) leaves it unclear whether there is a call to or a rejection of political art. 

Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkacova

have sewn a cloak of invisibility. Several handmade patches with protest slogans are hidden in the lining of the »Invisibility Cloak« (2014). Here the political is not offensive, but secret. In »Down is the New Up« (2013), the relationships are also inverted. Scores of clenched fists lie like wreckage on the floor on a flaccid parachute. 


creates multimedia scenarios that reflect on fictions in historiography. »The Battle of Past and Present« (2016) is a room­sized image of social struggles and the ghosts of history. In the »Cemetery of the Future« (2016) 13 tombstones join to create a random poem about mankind's fresh start.

Jeanette Ehlers

reveals traces of colonialism and slavery in our present. »Atlantic (Endless Row)« (2009) shows an idyllic beach. Only in the shore are invisible people reflected. They stand symbolically for all those abducted from Africa for slavery. »Bustin' My Knots« (2010) is a visual journey into the artist‘s brain. The video dissects the self­destructive consciousness that is passed down through generations in immigrant families.


appropriate cultural codes and give them new layers of meaning by changing contexts in their site­ and topic­specific interventions. The always cheerful Mickey Mouse stands like an icon for the Western lifestyle. At the same time he is a successful brand. In the neon work »Free Your Soul« (2016), he oscillates between fatigue and rebellion.

Rumiko Hagiwara

constructs art objects through tiny interventions that show the everyday in a new light with a melancholy humor. In »Outer power« (2013), an unplugged water kettle appears to be in operation thanks to a laser pointer. In »Ten square metre of shadow« (2011), a small marble plate casts a 10m shadow. In »Copy of white paper« (2016) Hagiwara copies a white sheet of paper until it becomes black.

David Maisel

confronts us in his large­format photoseries with the effects of human exploitation of the Earth: polluted lakes in »The Lake Project« (2001/02) and »Terminal Mirage« (2004), clearance forests in »The Forest« (1986), an open pit gold mine in »American Mine« (2007) and the cyborg nature of the megalopolises in »Oblivion« (2004).

Álvaro Martínez Alonso

photographs and films people in a peculiar free fall at their workplaces: the painful postures in »On Suspension« (2011/12) are allegories for a young generation, whose future is uncertain due to the economic crisis.

Guido van der Werve

shoots videos with a bottomles melancholy. In »Nummer 8: Everything is going to be alright« (2007) nothing at all appears to be okay. The image of the artist walking across followed by an icebreaker is symbolic of mankind and the destructive power of civilization.


In cooperation with MITTEL-EUROPA - Art narrative of 21st century Europe.



Funded by