The exhibition Passages explores the topicality and history of urban art. Reflecting cultural developments and the zeitgeist of society, international artistic projects and their reception have been selected from thirty-five years of the “Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Hamburg” program and presented in the form of drawings, models, photographs, and documents. Artistic contributions produced especially for this exhibition demonstrate strategies for contemporary urban art.
Hamburg has long been considered a center of contemporary art in public spaces. Supported by funds from the Senate and overseen by an independent art committee, several hundred works have been created since 1981. They were intended to be neither complaisant nor stately but rather to explore the city critically, to challenge the public, and to test the limits of art. Early large-scale projects sparked heated debates: Joseph Beuys’s political-ecological projects for Gesamtkunstwerk Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg as a total work of art) (1982–83), a proposed alternative to the contaminated leach fields of the Hamburg port and Alfred Hrdlička’s unfinished antimonument to the National Socialist war memorial on Stephansplatz that is colloquially known as the “Kriegsklotz” (war lump) (1985–86). In the 1990s artists examined cultural rituals and political fault lines, often in ephemeral installations and employing new media. In the face of the rapid transformation of cities worldwide and the associated social consequences, artists tried to provide critical impetus here. Despite artists’ enduring eagerness to experiment and new role models, they find themselves confronted once again with expectations to be conventional and representative. Under those conditions, the exhibition offers a look backward into the future.
Artistic contributions from the archive
Dennis Adams, Fareed Armaly, Michael Asher, Stephan Balkenhol, Joseph Beuys, Monica Bonvicini, Boran Burchhardt, Angela Bulloch, Margit Czenki, Luc Deleu, Dellbrügge & de Moll, Mark Dion, Felix Droese, Bogomir Ecker, General Idea, Tita Giese, Dan Graham, Group Material, Gloria Friedmann, Jens Haaning, Jenny Holzer, Alfred Hrdlička, Stephan Huber, Hubert Kiecol, Astrid Klein, Knowbotic Research, Till Krause, Volker Lang, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Wolfgang Luy, Achim Manz, Michaela Melián, Olaf Metzel, Christian Philipp Müller, Multigeräte, Park Fiction, Hermann Pitz, Bernhard Prinz, Fritz Rahmann, Martha Rosler, Ulrich Rückriem, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Christoph Schäfer, Julia Scheu, Gabriele Schmidt-Heins, Thomas Schütte, Esther Shalev-Gerz / Jochen Gerz, Richard Serra, Cathy Skene, Michael Sorkin, Stille Helden e.V., Serge Spitzer, Gerd Stange, TetraPak, The Thing, Hans van Houwelingen, Hannsjörg Voth, Franz Erhard Walther, Annette Wehrmann, Lawrence Weiner, Krzysztof Wodiczko u.a.
Artistic contributions of the exhibition
Antje Feger / Benjamin Stumpf, Brigitta Kuster / Angela Melitopoulos / Vassilis S. Tsianos, Proll Positions, Silent University Hamburg, Ehsan Soheyli Rad, WCW Gallery, Susanne M. Winterling
Sophie Goltz (artistic director Stadtkuratorin Hamburg),
Felix Fiedler (research associate Stadtkuratorin Hamburg)
Toledo i Dertschei (Eva Dertschei, Carlos Toledo)