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Nibelungen: I M A G I N E W O R L D S

Opening: 23.02.2024, 19:00
Duration: 24.02 - 19.05.2024
Artists: Ashta Butail, Julia Bünnagel, Andrea Canepa, Zuzanna Czebatul, Margret Eicher, Nadine Fecht, Philipp Fürhofer, Jeppe Hein, John Isaacs, Kubra Khademi, Alexander Kluge & Jonathan Meese, Oliver Laric, Kris Lemsalu, Philip Loersch, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Mirja Reuter und Florian Gass, Nasan Tur; Florian Gass & Mirja Reuter (Künstlerisches Beteiligungsprojekt).
Curator: Harald F. Theiss

The exhibition I M A G I N E W O R L D S focuses on the manuscript of the Nibelungenlied [the Song of the Nibelungs], dating from around 1300, which was found at Obermontani Castle in South Tyrol and is today in the possession of the Berlin State Library.

The Song of the Nibelungs is the most important literary epic of the German Middle Ages. Studying the manuscript opens up the possibility of rethinking aspects of European and non-European cultural history. More significant than the epic work itself are its impact and possible interpretations, which now offer both space and method for an exhibition approach that includes extra-literary narration.

I M A G I N E W O R L D S is an exhibition that uses artistic means to explore socio-political relevance and identity-forming functions, focusing on the encounter between visual and written languages. Along with contemporary international artworks and a participatory project, it permits critical reflections, contextualisations and reenactments of narratives, including those that are not handed down. It questions the collective memory and the relationship between the construction and deconstruction of Eurocentric myths in these times of a post-colonial and post-migrant reorganisation of the world. In the context of social concepts, it confronts ideas about how something might have been, later was or now is; it also addresses the emergence of new images of self and of others. The show creates references to the development of classic images of heroes in their contemporary media manifestations, but also to changing forms of gender roles. The ideal of courtly love above all represents a value system that still marks social norms today and whose deeper understanding can shed light on more recent cultural actions, and not only regarding queer-feminist institutional critique or gender-specific attributions and perspectives.

I M A G I N E W O R L D S is more an associative play of ideas than a reproduction of the epic with new images. Using the art of suggesting and referencing, the exhibition instead speculates on the ambivalence of myths, on the disappearance and emergence of new stories or the formation of myths. New artistic creations appear on a kind of walk-on stage, retelling variants via cultural change and concepts for shaping societies. By taking works that come not only from language, the exhibition has the courage to create blank spaces. These may be considered further in a newly organised reality not only through text-based, medial art; interaction; but also paintings, drawings and sculptural objects. In this way, I M A G I N E W O R L D S enables a differentiated view of myths and makes reference to the significance and transformation of (manuscript) writings and authorship, as well as to the history and aesthetics of reception, to demystification and gender constructions – at that time, afterwards and today...

Julia Bünnagel, WHERE WORDS END, Photo Jürgen Vogel. Landesmuseum Bonn
Oliver Laric, Sleeping Figure, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Monika Schnetkamp Collection

Foto Installation

Foto Opening