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Auf dem Asphalt botanisieren gehen
April 30–July 30, 2022
Lena Henke creates sculptures and installations that intricately recreate histories of modernism, design, and urban planning throughout her career. Her exploration of the physical places in which she lives, works, and exhibits her artworks begins with research into the physical spaces in which she lives, works, and exhibits her artworks. Henke’s interactions with site-specificity result in sculptures that are both rigid and playful in their shapes. Her work challenges modern culture’s patriarchal traditions while bringing the real experiences of gender to the foreground. Henke’s new sculptures explore the local histories and household artefacts of Berlin’s Hansaviertel, a postwar modernist social housing neighborhood where the artist’s studio is currently based.
Walter Benjamin’s Das Passagenwerk [The Arcades Project] (1927–40), in which Benjamin depicts the image of the flâneur as an urban wanderer who “goes botanizing on the asphalt,” is the inspiration for the exhibition’s title. By erecting a red-tinted spotlight whose wandering light beam shines from the gallery’s old kitchen space onto the street, Henke summons the specters of Potsdamer Strasse’s multiple histories. Henke’s exhibition quietly unearths the gendered exclusions of labor and care by connecting domestic interiors and urban publics by imaginatively travelling through Berlin’s pasts and present.