by Alice Connolly O’Brien // Nov. 16, 2021
‘gegen\archive: wer bleibt wo’ will be the first exhibition of the municipal Prater Galerie in 14 years. As the official gallery space is currently under construction, this exhibition will be hosted by ACUD Galerie from November 20th until the end of January 2022.
Berlin’s Prater has existed as a hub for culture and contemporary art since 1852, the gallery since 1967, and, in its time, was a thriving pillar within the creative community. ‘gegen\archive: wer bleibt wo’ will mark the first of its satellite exhibitions, organised by Sonja Hornung with the curatorial advice of Lena Johanna Reisner.
Over the past 14 years, Berlin has changed significantly. In its first post-hiatus exhibition, Prater Galerie hopes to address these dramatic urban changes that occurred during, and in the decade before, its dormancy. The overall aim of ‘gegen\archive: wer bleibt wo’ is to bring attention to often-forgotten or overlooked events, experiences and narratives that have shaped urban spaces and the lives of the people who inhabit them. Its program is complete with events, performances, film screenings and an urban walk, which will examine this post-socialist city as a living, breathing archive and showcase the stories and truths of gentrification.
‘gegen\archive: wer bleibt wo’ will feature the work and ideas of multiple Berlin-based artists who span over three generations. Through this representation, it hopes to give space to the places and groups that have resisted and suffered from the gentrification code that has indoctrinated the city.
For example, Karla Sachse’s piece titled ‘Lücken lesen’ (or, ‘Reading Gaps’) points to her own personal experience with displacement amid urban processes of change. Her piece takes the form of a reading journey that begins at ACUD and continues through Kastanienallee and its side streets. She hopes to encourage visitors to think about the gaps in Berlin society today. What happens when the last gaps in our streets are closed? What gains, and how much loss is involved? Are gaps in the law needed to preserve open spaces in the city? When do gaps in memory open up about the origins and methods of eliminating gaps? During the exhibition, the Pankow Kieztreffen, which fights against displacement and upgrading in the neighborhood, will use the gallery as a meeting point.
Other sections of the exhibition look back at more specific times in Berlin’s history. For example. the period of extreme insecurity in East Germany after the fall of the Wall, which hit former contract workers from Vietnam, Angola, Cuba and Mozambique particularly hard. The exhibition takes a closer look at the lives of ex-contract workers from the GDR and their current means of employment. For example, ‘Dialogue of the Objects / Komische Fragmente’ by Jinran Ha and Johanna Käthe Michel focuses on the nail salon. Often associated from the outside with feminised, so-called “migrant” labour, this space is here approached as a nucleus for solidarity and mutual support. In this digital work, industrially-manufactured objects used in nail studios are given a voice. The objects speak to one another quietly and become entangled in racist prejudices and sexist role attributions. In this way, the artists hope to raise direct questions about the relationship between belonging and space: Which people are welcomed into which urban spaces in which roles, and why? In a second digital work entitled ‘Manicure Conference Modellage,’ the artist duo allows exhibition visitors to digitally maneuver furniture in the space of the nail studio and interact with a new seating arrangement that has been designed to honor principles of solidarity.
Visitors are invited to attend one of the events organised in parallel to the exhibition, or simply the exhibition itself. With a full and varied schedule, ‘gegen\archive: wer bleibt wo’ is set to be an exciting and thoughtful return for Prater Galerie.
Group Show: ‘gegen\archive: wer bleibt wo’
Opening Reception: Friday, Nov. 19; 6–9pm
Collective Reading by Jinran Ha & Johanna Käthe Michel: Friday, Nov. 19; 6pm
Exhibition: Nov. 20, 2021–Jan. 30, 2022
ACUD Galerie, Veteranenstraße 21, 10119 Berlin, click here for map