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Kunsthalle Osnabrück

Kunsthalle Osnabrück 

Annual theme 2022: Romanticism

Kunsthalle Osnabrück presents exhibition project with the artists Forum demokratische Kultur und zeitgenössische Kunst, Anna Haifisch, Rosie Hastings/Hannah Quinlan, Gabriella Hirst and Irene Melix. 

Kunsthalle Osnabrück opens the first part of the exhibition and mediation programme ´´Romanticism´´ on Saturday, 25 June. In times of a pandemic and war in Ukraine, the Kunsthalle asks : What about the confidence and longing for love, identity and belonging ? In the first part of the exhibition, which runs until 16 October, the annual theme ´´Romanticism´´ uses the epoch of art and literature of the same name as a distorting mirror of the current state of society. Hardly any other epoch in Germany and Europe has shaped a collective feeling between awakening, nostalgia and nationalism by aesthetic means. 

In the context of the medieval architecture of the Kunsthalle, we will analyse whether the current feeling of global disruption is accompanied by a comeback of the visual and linguistic worlds of Romanticism. The forest? The ruin? The artist in bed? What does that tell us? And how can we use the means of art to resist in favour of a free society?

The programme includes solo exhibitions and new productions specifically realised for Osnabrück by national and international artists Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings (Great Britain), Forum for Cultural Democracy and Contemporary Art (Germany), Gabriella Hirst (Australia), Anna Haifisch (Germany), Irene Melix (Germany), Cemile Sahin (Germany) and Andrzej Steinbach (Germany). Sahin and Steinbach will open for the second time on 5 November. 

For the entrance area and the cloister of the Kunsthalle Osnabrück, the artist Anna Haifisch has developed several table sculptures and a new narrative picture series in which she lets the ´´Artist´´ discover the city of Osnabrück. Anna Haifisch is a comic artist and illustrator. In her humorous and unmasking view of our society, the protagonists are always depicted as animals. She became known with her eponymous comic ´´The Artist´´ - a beleaguered, thin bird that can be read as a mirror of contemporary struggles in neoliberalism, but also as a reckoning with the art business and the still present and contradictory notion of art as a creative and higher calling.

Gabriella Hirst´s archive of living and dying plants, which has been continuously expanded since 2014, makes visible a complex history that is reflected in the namings based on historical events. The installation ´´Battlefield´´, conceived for the courtyard of the Kunsthalle Osnabrück, cites the design of military drill formations and historical garden designs and focuses on plant cultivations as historical heritage and culture of remembrance. The approximately 200 plant varieties used have been named after famous battles, conquered territories, generals or weapons. 

With their transmedia works in film, painting, drawing and performance, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings address the socio-cultural and political structures that reinforce conservatism and discriminatory practices within and around the LGBTQI+ community. For their solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Osnabrück, the artists have developed a new installation. ´´Inside´´ combines multi-channel sound works with found objects in the form of fifteen doll´s houses showing different architectural styles of homes. The houses are from the UK and date from the late 19th century to the present.

The practice of the Democratic Culture and Contemporary Art Forum includes an artistic cultural critique that focuses on the cultural continuities of racism and anti-Semitism. Building on its critical engagement with Romantic movements and völkisch modes of thought, the Forum for Democratic Culture and Contemporary Art will show two new video works in the installative setting of the Ruin that explore the political and cultural impact and interactions of Romanticism, anti-Semitism and the rejection of modernity up to the present. 

Irene Melix is a visual artist with a strongly activist approach. In Osnabrück, she is pursuing historical as well as contemporary traces of queer encounters. During the project, she makes recurring offers for collective participation and togetherness. On the basis of intensive research in archives, personal interviews with queers of all generations and political activists, the search for queer life will be carried out together with Osnabrückers.

The exhibitions are complemented by an extensive programme of events and education. Starting in November, two more solo exhibitions on the annual theme by Cemile Sahin and Andrzej Steinbach will follow. 

The annual programme ´´Romanticism´´ is significantly supported by the Federal Cultural Foundation.

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