„Under Construction“ at Hamburger Bahnhof presents fifteen new – partly large-format – acquisitions which focus on the mechanisms of exhibition and museum collection strategies. The exhibition reflects on aspects such as sustainability and diversity as guidelines for the institutional collecting of art. The show includes paintings, installations, sculptures, videos and works on paper, in many cases new acquisitions from the past few years which are now being shown to the public for the first time. It comprises 11 acquisitions by the Stiftung der Freunde der Nationalgalerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, two acquisitions by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie and two donations to the Nationalgalerie.
Image above: Exhibition view “Under Construction”, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, 2.6.2022 – 15.1.2023 Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 2022 acquired by the Stiftung der Freunde der Nationalgalerie für zeitgenössische Kunst © Daniel Steegmann Mangrané © Thomas Bruns
The Nationalgalerie was founded in 1861 expressly as a museum for contemporary art and has since collected works from each new era. Since 1996, the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin has been the Nationalgalerie’s dedicated location for collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. One of the main tasks of a museum is to establish and maintain its collection. Much in the same way as the institution and the locations of the Nationalgalerie itself, its collection is also changing and expanding. Each new acquisition has an impact on the profile of the collection as a whole and inspires an ongoing engagement with it. The Nationalgalerie collection has recently been “under reconstruction”, particularly since the exhibition and research project Hello World. Revising a Collection (2018) which reflected on the underlying political and cultural conditions of collecting and took into account transcultural approaches in the expansion of its holdings. With its most recent acquisitions, the collection of the Nationalgalerie is increasingly opening up to such transcultural approaches while being supplemented with works by artists who have been living and working in Berlin for a significant amount of time.
The Under Construction exhibition is a presentation of new acquisitions made in the past few years with which the Nationalgalerie collection is continuing to develop along these lines. Shown in three parts of the building, the various artistic approaches in the exhibition encompass a broad spectrum of references and discourses with regard to form and content which address the self-image of museums as public places for reflection and exchange on the current situation in the world and its upheavals. In their works, the artists examine the institution of the museum and its spaces, as well as the practices and politics of showing and collecting – both explicitly and in a broader sense (Thea Djodjadze or Nairy Baghramian). They raise questions about the representation of history in relation to the world today and, with their individual approaches and references, help to shape our view of the past and present (Sandra Gamarra Heshiki, Manfred Pernice Martin Städeli). They examine political events and their historical backgrounds (Dierk Schmidt), address processes of recycling and reworking previous artworks and explore relationships between the body and space, subject and object, nature and culture, imagination and reality (Eduardo Basualdo and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané). They focus on constructions of memory and cultural identity, claims to power and forms of racism, as well as on alternative, collaborative modes of coexistence (Mariela Scafati, Bartolina Xixa).
Artists: Nairy Baghramian, Eduardo Basualdo, Thea Djordjadze, Ceal Floyer, Sandra Gamarra Heshiki, Melvin Moti, Manfred Pernice Martin Städeli, Mariela Scafati, Dierk Schmidt, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Bartolina Xixa and Julio González.
Curators: Gabriele Knapstein, Deputy Director and Head of Collections at Hamburger Bahnhof; Alice Koegel, Head of Exhibitions at Hamburger Bahnhof; Assistant Curator: Luisa Bachmann
Exhibition dates: Thursday, 2 June 2022 – Sunday, 15 January 2023
Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Fri 10am – 6pm, Thu 10am – 8pm, Sat + Sun 11am – 6pm
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin