From 26 August 2023 to 14 January 2024, Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg will be showing the extensive solo exhibition “The Path of Greatest Resistance” with new works by Fabian Knecht. The work and actions of the Berlin artist are currently determined by the war in Ukraine. In the presentation in Wolfsburg, he negotiates the topic forcefully with the media of installation, painting, video and performance.
Fig. above: Lachen ist Verdächtig, Fabian Knecht, 2023; Photo Henning Rogge, Tom Reichstein Contemporary, Hamburg
Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in 2022, Knecht has been part of the Ukrainian resistance and has travelled to Ukraine several times as a volunteer. His travels have taken him directly to the front lines in Kharkiv, Izyum, Kiev, Chernihiv and Odessa, among other places. The experiences of war that emerged during his humanitarian commitment left traces in Knecht’s artistic practice, summarised in his series of works The Path of Greatest Resistance. “Besides social engagement, art is the only meaningful action for me to deal with the experiences I had,” he says. Knecht sees the resulting works as social sculptures, which in turn help to finance humanitarian projects.
With expansive indoor and outdoor installations – he plans to transfer an explosion crater from Izjum to the park of Wolfsburg Castle – Knecht creates haunting images. He transcends conventions and boundaries to anchor the upheavals in visual memory and opposes an habituation of the state of emergency.
The main installation in the interior is a number of colourful hand-knotted camouflage nets. During his trips to Ukraine, he regularly exchanges them for professional camouflage nets and transfers them into art. The contrast in content of the nets, which are emotionally handmade and intended to offer protection from the high-tech war equipment, is charged with aesthetic tension.
The unbelievable situation of war is also demonstrated by a large painting measuring 5 x 3 m, dipped in black paint. Here Knecht pours painting linseed oil into burnt-out tanks and burnt war material. He then dips the canvases in this tank ash, which sticks to the canvases as pigments and paint. Knecht sees it as a batik technique commonly associated with hippie and peace culture.
Furthermore, video works and a two-month performance will be part of the exhibition.
Fabian Knecht was born in Magdeburg in 1980, he studied at the Berlin University of the Arts and was a master student of Olafur Eliasson. In his artistic practice, Fabian Knecht changes patterns of perception and action, reflects on concepts of art and power structures and questions social relations and norms through counter-images.
Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg
Opening: Friday, 25 August 2023
Exhibition dates: Saturday, 26 August 2023 – Sunday, 14 January 2024
Tue 1-8 pm
Wed-Fri 10 am- 5 pm
Sat 1-6 pm
Sun 11 am- 6pm