No colour, nor taste, it is odourless and always elusive – and yet, water is the stuff from which life once sprang, the metaphor for anything unfathomable, a matter of emotion and yearning, and thus a subject for art. But in the meantime water has also become a most vitally important issue for the 21st century’s world: a natural force, a commodity rather than a myth, a weapon instead of a human right. For this reason the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations has invited seven artists for its new exhibition at ifa gallery, Stuttgart, to have a critical look at water: water as a natural resource and the elixir of life, but also a risky political issue, especially in Africa and the Middle East.
In their photos, videos and installation works Taysir Batniji, Erdal Buldun, Bright Ugochukwu Eke, Lutz & Guggisberg, Mohamed Romène, Sérgio Santimano und Benjamin Wild explore various aspects of mankind’s relation with water. While being highly critical of our reckless behaviour towards this precious liquid they nevertheless all dive in with relish. They give us something to think about, but above all they invite us to experience this elusive element in symbolic images that are full of sensuousness.
Benjamin Wild (*1981, Cologne) raises the issue on a global scale: in his installation of books and digital media he turns water and land upside down and confronts the viewer with the question “What if…” the sea became land and the land turned into sea? Lutz & Guggisberg (*1968 and 1966, Zurich) combine nature and culture in a playful and wondrously subversive way: their video installation “Once, I heard him, and he was washing the world then” sounds the depths of the relation between man, technology and nature and soundly undermines them.
It is not only global issues but also local “water problems” that can become the subject of artists when dealing with “man’s and water’s needs”: So, Bright Ugochukwu Eke (*1976, Nsukka), in his installation „Shields“, focuses on acid rain in Nigeria, while Taysir Batniji (*1966, Palestine und Paris) will develop a work, that, in a gentle and poetic way, deals with water not only as matter and carrier of meanings, but also with its political implications of water as a weapon and commodity: he will write down the 109 different Arabic names for water with water. They will evaporate, dry out and disappear, thus symbolizing the importance of water in many regions especially of the Middle East where it is in short supply and can become the cause for wars.
Yet, despite all hardships connected with water, it is also a matter of joy! In his photographs Sérgio Santimano (*1956, Uppsala und Maputo) gives us a glimpse of life in Moçambique with much, sometimes too much, but also sometimes much too little water. Mohamed Romène (*1967, Hammamet) will show a series of photographs portraying a Tunesian hamam and its bathers; the public bath, both the space and its rituals, is in imminent danger of becoming extinct, in Europe as well as in the Arabic world. Erdal Buldun (*1964, Munich) visualises his own longing for life by the sea, a longing instilled by his childhood days in Izmir at the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and shared by so many other people: water as the very source of happiness. In their work these three photographers present us with water, this liquid godsend, which we drink, wash with, which we immerse ourselves in, fish in and by which we dream.
Nature and the environment are the main focus of “on stage: nature”, a series of exhibitions for the ifa galleries in 2008/2009.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated 64 pages catalogue, with essays by Malu Halasa, Iris Lenz, Peter Weber, Mia Couto and others. Available at ifa for the price of 14 Euros.
ifa gallery Stuttgart
22.02. – 04.05.2008
ifa gallery Berlin
16.05. – 20.07.2008
Bright Ugochukwu Eke
Donnerstag, 21. Februar 2008, 11 Uhr
22. Februar – 4. Mai 2008
Di, Mi, Fr – So 12 – 18 Uhr; Do 12 – 20 Uhr
Führungen mit einem Glas Sekt
28. Februar 2008, 24. April 2008 jeweils 18 Uhr
6. und 13. März 2008 jeweils 18.30 Uhr
Führungen für Gruppen nach Terminabstimmung
mit Frau Alber, Tel. 0711/22 25-161
Kinderprogramm – Wasserspiele:
Samstag, 19. April 2008 14 – 15.30 Uhr
Samstag, 26. April 2008 15.30 – 17 Uhr
Wir erzählen Geschichten vom Wasser und basteln Fische, Schiffe und Störche.
Mit den Clowns Tscho-Tscho und Ziff veranstalten wir ein Froschkonzert!
Stefanie Alber: email@example.com, Tel. 0711/2225-161
Iris Lenz: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 0711/2225-150
Wasserlust und Wassers Not
Einladung zur Eröffnung
Donnerstag, 21. Februar 2008, 18 Uhr
Elke aus dem Moore
Leiterin Abteilung Kunst
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen