In their exhibition Aha! Laura Ziegler and Maximiliane Baumgartner transform the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof into a double or even triple artificial park. Within this, a friendly dialogue takes place between two painters who test and investigate specific approaches to action: in Ziegler’s case, often in puppet stages and for her film club, in Baumgartner’s work as transient action spaces and settings in collaboration with children and youth. In doing so, the two artists refer to figures such as vagabonds, pedagogues, balladeers, and ornamental hermits who were artistically active in public spaces, parks, and squares, where they assumed positions that were in tension with their social surroundings. The two artists each do so in their individual expanded notions of painting. These figures are part of Baumgartner and Ziegler’s dialogue about role models for artists, forms of knowledge production and self-organization, as well as about viewer roles and artistic forms of action.
With the exhibition title Aha! Baumgartner and Ziegler refer to a surprisingly visible type of trench which suggests openness, yet simultaneously is a culturally created restriction. The Aha, like other design devices in the formal vocabulary of parks, aims to evoke certain effects and behaviors and thus exemplifies forms of social disciplining and hierarchization. Baumgartner and Ziegler’s park setting suggests a reinterpretation and different use thereof. In addition to appropriations of park grammars in plots “overgrown” with gravel and moss or, for example, a TV fountain by Ziegler, the exhibition space contains elements of a pedagogical architecture that point to Baumgartner’s upcoming as well as past actions. They use their “park” and their extended painterly practices as scenic elements to question artistic modes of action.
In Maximiliane Baumgartner’s and Laura Ziegler’s exhibition Aha!, park and exhibition space stand paradigmatically for a meeting point of different individuals, their perceptions and ideas. It is these spaces of the public, the urban, and the social in which knowledge, expectations, and behaviors are formed and structured. By populating them with other figures or unofficial roles and their respective forms of work and action, Baumgartner and Ziegler question hegemonic thinking and social (role) milieus. The artistic practice is both a means of research and knowledge production as well as a proposal for action. The vagabonds and pedagogical situations that recur in Baumgartner’s paintings are directly related to Baumgartner’s transient mobile action spaces, which inquire in a collaborative process urban spheres. Laura Ziegler’s puppet show stages or collage-like detail studies of allegorical scenes are placed in relation to genre painting. Moreover they are equally part of her film club practice, which is also set in public spaces. Accordingly, for Baumgartner and Ziegler, painting is not available to any romantic appropriation, but is a useful medium for seeking complicity, appropriating spaces, and sharing intimacies publicly.
Curated by Annette Hans.
Maximiliane Baumgartner (*1986, lives in Düsseldorf) works as an artist in painting as well as pedagogy and self-publishing. Interested in (counter-) publics and their historical contexts within urban space, she develops (often in collaboration) artistic fields of action and play settings. Thereby, she is interested in the use of painting as a social field of action. She initiated the transient action space Der Fahrende Raum and programmed it in changing collaborations from 2015 – 2019 in Munich. Since 2019, she researches and teaches at the Institute for Art and Art Theory at the University of Cologne. In 2020, the publication Ich singe nicht für Bilder schöne Lieder about her work was published by Motto Books in collaboration with the Neue Essener Kunstverein and the Kunstverein München.
Laura Ziegler’s (*1990, lives in Hamburg) performances and participation in group exhibitions include Munich Opera Festival (2014), Kunstverein Arnsberg (2015), Galerie Deborah Schamoni (Munich, 2015), KUB Arena Kunsthaus Bregenz (2015), Madre Museum (Naples, 2017), Haus der Kunst (Munich, 2019), Kunstverein Munich (2020) and Kunstverein in Hamburg (2021). In 2019, Haus der Kunst – Texte und Noten was published in collaboration with Stephan Janitzky. In summer of 2021, the city newspaper in public space, Rasberries&Diamonds, in cooperation with Melissa E. Logan at Kunstverein Langenhagen serves as a follow-up. Since 2019 she organizes the expanded-cinema series proformFilmklub.