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Nature and State at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

July 9–October 16, 2022

Opening weekend: July 8–10
With performances and artist talks

Performance: O Barco/The Boat by Grada Kilomba, July 8, 7pm, and July 9, 5pm

Performance: Becoming Sculptures by Ersan Mondtag, July 8, 8:30pm and July 9, 3pm

Artist talks: July 9, 12–2pm, and July 10, 12–2pm
Artist talks with the team of Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

Based on a collective mind of exhibition-making, Nature and State is a search for responding to our time. From climate change to drought, isolation politics to recession, or armed conflicts to authoritarian regimes, many of our existential questions, planetary problems and global crises could be formulated only in reference to these two terms; nature and state.

As a stitch to last year’s exhibition State and Nature, a multi-venue project, which extended both terms within the contemporary canon, this year’s survey show is entitled Nature and State as a dialectic proposal.

The exhibition uses a particular methodology of theater, working with script as the source of the storytelling: Parallel to the recent manifestation about humanity’s roots in the book The Dawn of Everything, A New History of Humanity (2021) by David Graeber and David Wengrow, the focus shifts to questioning the main idea of the state as a denial of the state of nature, considering how prehistoric communities historically made their own decisions of how to live. The exhibition uses the search of how our ancestors might have lived and imagines a future via early feminist science fiction in the novel The Disposessed (1974) by Ursula K. Le Guin.

In this way, through investigating continuity, disobedience, and possible forms of transformation in relation to the state of stateless and the genealogical relationships between future and past, the new chapter peacefully departs from a quote by Ursula K. Le Guin: “(…) we have no states, no nations, no presidents, no premiers, no chiefs, no generals, no bosses, no bankers, no landlords, no wages, no charity, no police, no soldiers, no wars.”

When does an art institution crack? Naturally due to a catastrophy or rather through state run policies? Nature and State is not a group show in a literal sense; it will rather arrive at destinations different from its point of departure.

Rather than a static form of exhibition-making, the new team of Kunsthalle Baden-Baden proposes a composition with fluid, versatile and shifting methods for Nature and State. It invites the public to join this process over the course of the upcoming months, in which the Kunsthalle will turn into an ongoing transformation of spaces and selves. Every weekend of July and October 2022 will be hosting a specific performative program, starting with the opening weekend from Friday, July 8 to Sunday, July 10.

Opening on July 8, 6pm, the organic exhibition investigates in an open ended process new artistic perspectives with proposals of temporary structures, spaces and narratives, that critically question how we are ruled, controlled and governed as well as how we can share a common imagination of togetherness.

For Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Grada Kilomba and Ersan Mondtag, leading actors of performative research as well as German and international theater, perform each on two occasions. O Barco/The Boat (2021) by Kilomba will be adapted for the public park surrounding Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, a newly commissioned installation by Ersan Mondtag will be activated by his likewise new performance Becoming Sculptures (2022) and further act as a stage, for artist talks during opening weekend and Hjirok (2022) by Hani Mojtahedy on July 15, 16 and 17.

Eventually, Kunsthalle becomes that dream we dream together; like an oasis, desert, river, Black Forest or an antipodean habitat, an ongoing transformation of spaces and selves… it cares for all possibilities of gathering and sharing resources. It will become an open stage with meetings and events scheduled every Friday (free entry) with different forms of gathering.

Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
Lichtentaler Allee 8a
76530 Baden-Baden
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +49 7221 30076400
F +49 7221 30076500
[email protected]
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