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“Secret Surface: Where Meaning Materializes”, Exhibition demonstrates Emptiness as a Driving Force

Until the 1st of May, BKW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin is Hosting an Exhibition that Emphasizes the Surface

April 27th, 2016
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From the 14th of February until the 1st of May the German Federal Cultural Foundation with additional support of the Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs and the British Council organized the “Secret Surface: Where Meaning Materializes” exhibition in the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The exhibition presents contemporary works by artists who conceive emptiness as a driving force in itself, contrary to the common occidental worldview founded on the idea of a beyond that make the surface like something of superficial.

The aim of this show is to examine whether and how meaning could be expressed without recourse to metaphysical explanatory models. The exhibition is divided into four parts in which the same motifs are viewed from different thematic perspectives. On the ground floor, the subject matter is introduced in order to demonstrate that surfaces appear charming because they can never be completely experienced visually. Here the materials become visible only when the light reflects on its surface.

In the exhibition hall the first chapter, Beneath the Firmament, takes as its starting point a literary image from D.H. Lawrence, which describes the universe as a man-made shield that protect the humanity from the chaos. All the artworks presented in this room address explicitly the shield and are dedicated to the physical and material reality of the universe. The third part is the Chapter World as Surface and explores several concepts of relationship to the world.

The last chapter, Models of Subjectification probes forms of encountering oneself and others not based on a fixed identity. The works in this chapter perceive the social norm as a surface from which an individual may more successfully gain opportunities for action through appropriation and varying repetition than through distinction.  

The exhibition is curated by the Chief curator of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Ellen Blumenstein and is accompanied by a series of events and a program of performances during the Gallery Weekend Berlin, devised by the British curator Catherine Wood. The project of this event is born from joint researches by the two curators.

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Valentina Mazzone, Berlin Global