Trouble in Paradise
24 Apr - 11 Oct 2015
24 April - 11 October 2015
Fourteen contemporary artists are currently using the roof, the museum square, and the foyer of the Bundeskunsthalle to concern themselves with the topics “garden” and “nature” and to explore the dichotomy between nature and art, and between naturalness and artificiality.
Trouble in Paradise (“Ärger im Paradies”), the title of the show, is both an adage and a premonition. Cultural history, the ambivalent liaison between nature and civilisation started with trouble in paradise. The first challenge is the terminological distinction: where does nature end, where does culture begin? Since the Renaissance, this differentiation has influenced the view of the world and aims at separating the impersonal sphere determined by the laws of nature from the human world defined by individuality and purposeful productivity.
In contemporary art, this subject is currently more topical than ever. The exhibition explores the conditions of a living environment which draws on culture and nature alike. The fourteen artists approach these topics in very different ways and also explore the contrast between nature and art, and naturalness and artificiality. The result is a heterogeneous landscape consisting of especially designed in situ (garden) realms and already existing artworks. The site-specific works intentionally intervene with the idyll on the roof. The museum square, the foyer, and the roof feature artistic works that refer very specifically to the area they occupy. They reflect issues such as public and private space, landscape and borders, spatial appropriation, and concepts such as Arcadia, hortus conclusus, idyll, or pleasure garden, but also obvious or subtle puzzlement, destruction, alienation, deformation, contextual shifting, and the transformation of nature/surroundings/habitats, whether through the forces of nature, war, or changed personal or social conditions.
With its postmodern representational structure, the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany is practically a symbol of the Bonn Republic and that period in German federalism. Some of the works in the exhibition are intended as counterparts to the architecture and add playful accents such as the bird tunnel “For the Birds” by Alvaro Urbano and Petrit Halilaj or almost threatening features such as Maria Loboda’s “This Work is Dedicated to an Emperor”. Trouble in Paradise is intentionally controversial, but also seeks to tempt and entice with the allures of natural growth.
Artists: Michael Beutler, Vajiko Chachkhiani, Thea Djordjadze, Petrit Halilaj, Maria Loboda, Christian Philipp Müller, Olaf Nicolai, Tobias Rehberger, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Michael Sailstorfer, Tino Sehgal, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Alvaro Urbano, Ina Weber