The disruptive moment of the collective loss of control that occurred with the outbreak of the Corona pandemic is the point of departure for the group exhibition I Offer You a Journey Without Direction, Uncertainty and No Sweet Conclusion. The feeling of insecurity and the realization that one’s own plans – private, professional, social plans – are no longer in our hands, are still shaping our lives today. At the same time, questions arise as to whether control was not already an illusion before the pandemic and that planning security is in any case only a privilege of a few people. The exhibition assembles artistic positions that approach the theme of travel as a moment of uncertainty, of being at the mercy of others, or of being stuck, and that invite us to contemplation. All artworks operate with openness and reflect on unpredictability and uncertainty as potential for reorientation.
Hans Diernberger & Will Saunders
LANYC was created on a four-day train journey between Los Angeles and New York City, where the camera takes the perspective of a roving gaze out the window. The footage overlaps, creating the perception of a round trip that neither begins nor ends in either city. The subsequent color grading of the footage lends a surreal, dreamlike mood to the film, which is further enhanced by the soundtrack. The rhythmic rattling of the wheels on the rails and the occasional honking of the train’s horn are interrupted occasionally by fragments of dialogue, without any coherent narrative emerging from them. Harmonica sounds tie everything together in a hypnotic journey through the trans-American landscape, where the vastness of the Midwest merges with the large, densely built cities of both coasts. LANYC portrays a landscape of longing associated with nostalgic promises of freedom, reveling in the feeling of being in between without having to arrive.
A Vacation, 2018
In the film A Vacation, we follow the arrival of a man, played by Hüseyin Işçi, in a remote hut in the Turkish highlands. The title initially suggests that the film tells the story of leisure travel, of a vacation. As the film progresses, however, this assumption is dispelled. From the very beginning of the film, the protagonist takes on the role of an outsider. After strange events occur in the neighborhood, the village order is gradually shaken and the mistrust towards the stranger grows. With great calmness, the film follows the everyday activity of the protagonist; the concentrated peeling of apples, preparation of tea or rambles through nature. The protagonist’s inner life remains unspoken of; the landscape shots alone serve as an allegory of his state of mind and the atmosphere surrounding him, which is increasingly characterized by distrust and hostility. In A Vacation, Eroglu explores the construction of strangeness and social dynamics of suspicion against the backdrop of the six-month imprisonment of the main character, Isçi, who was accused of supporting the 2016 coup against the Turkish government.
GEPÄCK / BAGGAGE, 2010 – ongoing
In her work GEPÄCK / BAGGAGE Linda Nadji combines sculptures cast in concrete with imprints of suitcases and travel bags. Nadji has been working on this series since 2010, ever expanding, rearranging the sculptures and bringing them into relation to the respective exhibition site. Pieces of luggage are associated with a change of place, mobility and crossing borders. They are both means of transportation and simultaneously fashionable accessories. As companions of a vacation trip, pieces of luggage arouse the longing for distant places, experiences or recreation. Mobility is a luxury, but it can also indicate an experience of being uprooted. As a material testimony of escape, pieces of luggage refer to experiences of loss and the feeling of uncertainty. The concrete objects with steel carrying handles are neither transportable nor are they containers for objects. Removed from their original function, the artist directs attention to the form and materiality of the objects. The sculptures counteract the metaphor of luggage as means of mobility. They mark a conscious pause and refer to standstill.
In Arrangements Adrian Williams shows sofas that were advertized as „for free“. The reasons for giving them away: space for something new, household dissolutions, separations, moves, all moments telling of various upheavals, transitions and changes in life. Signs of use, stains and seat marks on the sofas bear witness to the time spent with their previous owners. Each sofa in the exhibition space holds a cardboard sign with short poems written by Williams. The words become entwined with the objects and combine to form a new image, each with its own title. The inscribed signs resemble slips of paper on disposed household goods on the street. At the same time, they become speech or thought bubbles of the visitors who sit on the sofas, or appear as stand-ins for invisible seat neighbors who might think and speak the words, just as the sofas are placeholders for their own stories.
The film DRIFT tells the story of two friends who take a trip to the North Sea before parting ways for a long period of time. Josefina returns to Argentina, while Theresa crosses the Atlantic on a ship towards the Caribbean, where the unknown awaits her. In a series of calm images and an all-connecting sound, the reduced narrative develops. From the middle of the film onwards, land is lost from sight and the ocean becomes the protagonist. At high seas, far away from the coasts, intermediate worlds are presented. The film explores the colors, sound, and texture of the ocean’s surface, going along with the movement of the waves and swaying from day to night. The inscribed metaphor of the ocean is both a plot device and a frame of reference. Wittmann reflects on the journey as a moment of transition. With her camera she captures the longing for departure and arrival as well as all the moments in between. DRIFT was created in close collaboration with ethnologist Theresa George and sound artist Nika Son.
The exhibition is kindly supported by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Bezirksamt Harburg, and the Leinemann-Kunststiftung Nikolassee.
The program of the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof is made possible by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Liebelt-Stiftung, Hamburg.