'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...
The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...
On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...
To the hundredth anniversary of the publication of the bestseller Das Heilige by R. Otto.
There is hardly any other work that has influenced the understanding of 20th century religion to such great extent like 'Das Heilige–Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen' did by Rudolf Otto. It was him who declared the experience of the Numinose at the centre of all religion. Published in 1917, the book took its author to fame all at one go. Until this day, it is considered as a landmark in the field of religious science and theory. In the bestseller, Otto describes 'the shiver as best part of human kind... as a feeling of the supramundane'. He challenges the reader to 'reflect on a moment of strong and possibly unilateral, religious excitement'. This requires the cooperation with recipients. A crucial multiplier of this transforming psychology is the relic. Mortal remnants of saints and objects from their near surroundings. Objects that have the potential of saving the power of a 2000-years-old on-going Christian religion. Taken into account with their idealistic and romantic reinterpretation, the objects imply the desire of faith's eternity. I have to admit: In my everyday life in Rome, I was not able to adopt this view. The reality of Europe's current state of affairs was too noticeable in the Christian city of heroes. The sight of refugees, poverty and the life circumstances of migrants were all too clear.
With the project Einkehren I am documenting my own experiences within this context.
Einkehren–a performative enactment
A clear sign of wanting to integrate is expressed by refugees with their performative engagement on the footpaths of Rome. Indicated information signs, as well as collection cups, mark the beginning and the end of the trail that has been cleaned by them. Bin bags filled with leaves and dross and the demonstrative use of dustpan and broom manifest the will to tender performance by the applicants, by the possible new residents of Rome. They differentiate themselves from beggars and services conducted all of a sudden. To me, it is a pleasant, quiet but distinct occupation of the public space.
In my embodied, plastic enactment titled Einkehren, persons finding themselves in precarious situations were invited to use my studio in Rome as a platform. I was hoping to give migrants a voice at the centre of an arranged stage room, similar to the speaker's corner. Incognito, but noticeable with the use of his mother tongue, the speaker was able to narrate his vision of life in Europe. Medium and form of the talk were free of choice. In the beginning of June in 2018, I started a conversation with 16 road sweepers and invited them to the conversation. The outcome of this action will be shown in a two-hour-long documentation.
– Jörg Herold, Rome 2017/2018
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