BERLIN ART LINK STUDIO VISIT: PEACHES
Video: A Berlin Art Link Production
Interview by Monica Salazar | Filmed by Peter Cairns | Edited by Robin Thomson
Text by Liz Feder
A sauna and strap-ons? Electronic music-machines and ugly pink bathing suits? Hairy costumes and oversized acrylic necklaces? This is the studio visit that defies all others, where the artist herself emphatically dubs it the "anti-studio visit." Taking a tour of her Berlin studio, located in the sauna of Stattbad Wedding, a turn of the century bathhouse converted in 2009 into a cultural exhibition space and artist studios, is much like experiencing one her shows: disorienting, delirium-inducing, and full of the unexpected.
Filmed and edited by Natasha Klimenko
Directed by Anna Russ
Interview by Anna Russ
"Emptying flags" by artist Sonja Hornung, which will run over a period of several months.
Public space plays a central role in this exhibition project, insofar as the artist uses her work to bring into focus concepts of statehood and the significance of territorial spaces. Using installation and public intervention, Sonja Hornung attempts to approach a representation of a borderless political space. In the process, the artist annexes used and unused flagpoles within the city, hoisting flags that have no meaning whatsoever.
Ordinarily, flags carry cultural, religious, ethnic or ideological messages. Loaded with historical and geographical significance, they are symbols of domination and power, predetermining identity, including some and excluding others. The symbolism of flags is part and parcel of a system of order that influences, at any given moment, each and every individual.
Using a self-devised system, Sonja Hornung generates patterns for flags that have no historical basis. Instead, these new flags are formed – as much as possible – by chance. The artist uses emptied flags to scrutinize the mechanism at the heart of the process that anchors a flag to its symbolic meaning and its actual territory.
Emptying flags approaches the (im)possibility of separating spaces from borders, meaning and matter, form and content. In doing so, the exhibition project opens a fleeting moment of borderlessness, whilst prompting questions pertaining to the consequences of constructing different possibilities of meaning. What happens, for example, when we can no longer draw meaningful connections between the perceived and the understood? What happens when the symbol of the flag, always so distinct, loses its symbolic decisiveness, opening out to nothingness?
The first series of flags with no meaning created by the artist will be raised in front of Haus am Köllnischen Park, the previous academy for the Socialist Unity Party of East Germany (SED). Similar interventions will continue over the course of the summer, including in collaboration with international embassies in Berlin and other institutions, as well as in more mundane spaces that usually go overlooked.
The public part of the project will be followed in early 2014 with an exhibition including photographs, drawings and the flags themselves.
Sonja Hornung (*1987) is a Melbourne-born artist with an installation-based practice who uses public space to redefine the relation between humans and their environment. A recipient of the Melbourne National Scholarship, she graduated from her Bachelor of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne with first class Honours. Currently, Sonja Hornung lives and works in Berlin, where she is studying for her Masters in Spatial Strategies at the Art Academy Weißensee. Her work has previously been shown in Berlin in two public projects in collaboration with General Public and the International Forum (Berliner Festspiele) respectively.
Partners of "Emptying Flags":
Senatsverwaltung für Inneres, Berlin; Fahnen Weissbach; Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin; BBraun; Berlin Art Link
On September 13, 2012, Peaches unleashed her first feature film at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), "Peaches Does Herself". If the title sounds familiar, you may have had the opportunity to catch one of her live rock opera extravaganzas by the same name at HAU 1 in Berlin in October 2010: the movie itself is a composition of video and audio meticulously taken from each of the Berlin performances. Berlin Art Link sat down with Peaches to get her personal thoughts on the film, a bit of her creative history, and to check out her Berlin studio.
Born in Toronto as Merrill Beth Nisker, Peaches has been a Berlin-based powerhouse for over ten years now. But having this film premier in her hometown is an exciting come-around: the semi-autobiographical nature of the production also allows for a broader audience to get closer to the Peaches personality. Coalescing the Peaches Does Herself performances, which were all developed and performed in Berlin, into a film to be unveiled in Toronto collides both her geographical as well as professional biographies. The productions and film hinge on the dynamic transformations of Peaches as an individual as well as a persona. For her, there's nothing not worth trying, which is definitely evident in the exciting mutations of sets, costumes, and characters that "Peaches Does Herself" hosts.
**KEEP YOUR EAR TO THE GROUND | Coming soon: BAL Exclusive Studio Visit with Peaches**
A BERLIN ART LINK Production
Filmed by Peter Cairns
Edited by Dan McGarry
Interview by Monica Salazar
Music video & Film Footage provided by Robin Thomson & I U SHE Productions
A Berlin Art Link Production
Interview by Monica Salazar and Anna Russ
Editing/Post by Charmaine Robbins
Camera/Sound by Peter Cairns
Music by DJ4Kat
In 2003, Steven Stappleton, a British artist, joined forces with Saudi Arabian artists Ahmed Mater and Abdulnasser Gharem to create Edge of Arabia, a a multi-faceted platform for presenting contemporary Arab art to Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia. Having begun in the Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha, Saudia Arabia, this grassroots initiative quickly spread to become a powerful voice in the international art world.
Edge of Arabia’s inaugural exhibition was hosted in 2008 at the SOAS Brunei Gallery in London. In 2010, the group began a world tour, starting in Berlin at the Vinyl Factory Gallery during the 6th Berlin Biennale. This marked Germany’s first exhibition of contemporary Saudi Arabian art. They showed an increasing international presence with further exhibitions in Istanbul, as part of the European Capital of Culture, and and at the U.A.E.’s 2011 Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennale.