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Press Release: SPEKULATIONEN Series #3 - #5

Opening: Sunday, February 17, 3 PM

February 17 - March 16, 2008

Sofia Hultén

Ulrike Mohr
Neue Nachbarn

Kai Schiemenz
The Empty Dwelling, the Vain Tower and the Mad Colonist

In the next year, three development projects are slated to commence on lots within Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum.  After years of dormancy, suspended in market limbo, this land which was formerly part of the “Mauerstreifen” and one of downtown’s last remaining urban fields, will change. Preceding the shifting landscape, Skulpturenpark presents 3 artists, Sofia Hultén, Ulrike Mohr and Kai Schiemenz, whose projects address implications of social, architectural, historic, and everyday transformation. Ulrike Mohr transplants trees saved from the roof of the Palast der Republik, Sofia Hultén shreds and spreads forlorn objects decaying onsite, and Kai Schiemenz builds a towering architecture on a mound of past foundations. In the context of the exhibition series, Spekulationen, their works join Etienne Boulanger’s The Single Room Hotel and Valeska Peschke’s Toro-esque monument for local dogs, Und er kommt nicht allein. Taken together the works would appear to ready the site for its eventual habitation. More trees, less trash, a new pavilion, a hotel offering nightly residence, and a very large dog advertising the area’s local significance. Only food and a park, which will come in the series’ last project, Sigmund Jähn Döner Kebab Stand, Sigmund Jähn Park, by Daniel Bozhkov, and the high-rises looming in the near future, are missing.

A few blocks away, East Germany’s former Parliamentary Building, the Palast der Republik, is being dismantled. During the 15 odd years that the city debated the Palast’s demise, its roof became a small biotope. For her piece, Neue Nachbarn, Ulrike Mohr saved 5 trees which sprouted from its cracks and transplanted them at Skulpturenpark. At the same time that their former home is being destroyed, the wild trees take root in the exactly the same positions from one another. Mohr has marked the trees with Palast der Republik medallions and distinguished them with labels classifying their botanical species. Otherwise, the trees quietly and symbiotically blend in with their new neighbors, wild trees and vegetation, who similarly sprouted from cracks in the pavement after the fall of the Wall.

Meanwhile, Sofia Hultén scours the park of discarded objects such as an old armchair, mattress, and more. In her piece, Auflösung, the objects are collected and then shredded into a fine powder at an industrial waste disposal plant. Hultén takes the resulting dust and spreads it in the areas where each object was found. Characteristic of her oeuvre, Hultén has set a time-consuming and ambitious task for herself with seemingly little, or at least, contorted practical purpose. Rather than providing a trash removal service, Hultén speeds up the site’s entropic processes– mechanically and metaphorically exploding the objects in a sculptural process of dematerialization. A video of the shredding will play in the restaurant at the corner of Neue Grünstrasse and Seydelstrasse.

If Mohr’s work rescues something from history, and Hultén’s speeds up time, Kai Schiemenz spiraling architectonic sculpture, The Empty Dwelling, The Vain Tower and the Mad Colonist, points to the ambiguity of the land’s present circumstances. Consisting of 3-parts, a staircase, empty room and tower, the structure rises up from the park’s lone hill, a mound of building foundations from before the Wall. If the sculpture truly has historical foundations, it appears like a blown-up scale-model of a collision between Constructivist forms and more recent Post-Structuralist mega-buildings where “form follows function” does not always preside. Its plywood and lattice structure rises intuitively from the ground. Viewers can ascend its stairs up to the empty room. Similar to past work, the tower operates as both a monument standing alone in the park’s vast field and as a pavilion from which to view. It provides the practical purpose of seeing and of being seen. However, its form also references a utopian architecture which placed on the site of the former Wall defiantly takes a last stand before the incoming urban renewal.

Each of the artists reside in Berlin.

schie1) roof of Palast der Republik, Ulrike Mohr 2) Auflösung, Sofia Hultén 3) sketch for The Empty Dwelling..., Kai Schiemenz

Spekulationen has been curated by Eva Hertzsch/Adam Page (Dresden/Berlin), Birgit Schumacher/Uwe Jonas (Berlin), Adam Sutherland (Grizedale, GB), and KUNSTrePUBLIK, e.V. For more on the Spekulationen Series, click here.

Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum is a project by KUNSTrePUBLIK, e.V. (Matthias Einhoff, Philip Horst, Markus Lohmann, Harry Sachs, Daniel Seiple). The exhibition series has received the generous support of the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Berlin, Germany.

For more information, please contact our office:
Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum
Neue Grünstr. 20
10179 Berlin