Verschont mein Haus, zündet andere an
With two new solo exhibitions and new productions especially created for this occasion by the artists Cemile Sahin and Andrzej Steinbach, the Kunsthalle Osnabrück opened the second part of its annual theme Romanticism. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a warin Ukraine, Kunsthalle Osnabrück sets out to explore the question: What’s the current state of our hopeand desire for love, identity and belonging? This year’s theme Romanticism uses the eponymous art and literature movement as a distorting mirror with which to examine the current state of society.Sweeping across Germany and Europe,hardly any othermovement has managed to shape such a strong collective feeling situated between departure, nostalgia and nationalism through aesthetic means. Set against the backdrop that is the museum’s medieval architecture, the Kunsthalle wants to investigate whether the current sense of global turmoil has inspired a comeback of the visual and linguistic worlds of Romanticism.The exhibition programme of the annual theme includes solo exhibitions by the Forum Democratic Culture and Contemporary Art,Anna Haifisch, Gabriella Hirst, Irène Mélix, Cemile Sahin,Andrzej Steinbach, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings. Cultural symbolism, history, social practice and their significance for individuals and their identity formation reflect the central interest of Andrzej Steinbach's artistic work. He understands images as an expression of our political and social conditions. His photographs and installations unfold their critical potential in interaction with cultural attributions, appropriated and newly contextualized poses from history, pop and subculture, which open up to new readings and point to potentials for social change. For the Kunsthalle Osnabrück, he has developed a new series of works as well as an installation that treat compartmentalization and security as social phenomena and needs. The starting point is a bureaucratic setting that quotes administration, order and alertness as supposed security mechanisms and becomes the carrier of a new series of works. For this series entitled Tisch und Bett (2022), Steinbach set up photo sessions in so-called crime scene flats of the Brandenburg Police School. The model-like, alienated flats in which scenarios of protection are assessed, are countered by an older photo series entitled Ordinary Stones (2016), showing people, accessories and objects that are almost prototypical of political activism. In the spirit of Saint Florian, quoted by Steinbach for the exhibition title Verschont mein Haus, zündet andere an [Spare my house, set others on fire], the artist places the dilemma between social solidarity and individual well-being at the centre of his new production. Andrzej Steinbach (*1983 in Czarnków, Poland) lives and works in Berlin. The artist's most recent solo exhibitions were at the Museum Gunzenhauser Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz and the Kunstverein Hamburg (both 2022). His work has been shown in numerous international group exhibitions, including at Ludwig Forum Aachen (2021), Kunsthalle Wien (2019), MoMA New York, Kunsthalle Bonn and Centre de la photographie Genève (all 2018). He has received numerous awards, for example the Wüstenrot Stiftung Dokumentarfotografie Förderpreis, the Berenberg Prize for Young Art (both 2015) or the Marion Ermer Prize (2013). His work is represented in collections worldwide, including MoMA New York, the Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Folkwang Museum Essen and the Sprengel Museum Hannover.