Sophia Hirsch, Johannes Mundinger
Where is the line between public and private? Though not often explicitly posed, we navigate this question every day to guide how we move through the world. Depending on time, place, and who surrounds us, individual and collective definitions of public and private invariably shift. Public Intimacy asks us to consider this changing definition, and the liminal space between. The works presented in this exhibition each originate from a real domestic space. The curtains you see are second-hand, sourced from throughout Germany, and hung in homes much like the ones photographed and on display. The textiles and photographed facades draw on domestic structures used to separate public and private spaces. The curtain, practically and symbolically, points to the tenuous divisions and changing frame of where private space gives way to public. In as much as it provides refuge from the outside world, the curtain equally hides from view or shuts us off from what may be happening on our doorstep. Sophia Hirsch and Johannes Mundinger created this body of work drawing from and within the domestic spaces of Berlin, Offenburg, and other German cities – a regional context still contending with a history of state and civic violence from the Holocaust, as well as a contemporary resurgence of antisemitism and xenophobia in the rise of neo-Nazi movements and the far-right. In addition, our world is more connected than ever before, and in the wake of a global pandemic, new spaces and considerations have opened up questions on how we act or what we say both online and in real life. When or where do we draw the curtain? And what does it block out? As the artists consider this reality in their own locale, their work invites you to consider in equal measure your own “curtains,” their contexts, and what they may delineate.