Birds and Buoys

Nadja Abt

Barbara Marcel

Grafik Victor Schmidt

Grafik: Viktor Schmidt

9 April - 13 June 2021

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Further Events (more details will follow soon):

28.4. – Paz Guevara in conversation with Nadja Abt, Barbara Marcel, Katja Kynast (Online on Zoom)

2.5. – These Birds of Temptation. Book presentation with Barbara Marcel and K. Verlag (Open-Air)

20.5. – Guided tour through the neighbourhood of Bärenzwinger with Berlin Postkolonial e.V. / Dekoloniale (German)

27.5. – Wayfaring Strata. As We Move Along. Audio Walk choreographed by Sonia Fernández Pan with music by Stephen McEvoy

3.6. – Guided tour through the neighbourhood of the Bärenzwinger with Berlin Postkolonial e.V. / Dekoloniale (English)

13.6. – Birds`n Buoys Bloco. Finissage with, among others, Nadja Abt, Barbara Marcel and Tom Nóbrega: parade, music, performance

On 9 April 2021, the double exhibition "Birds and Buoys" opens at Bärenzwinger Berlin with works by Nadja Abt and Barbara Marcel. The double exhibition "Birds and Buoys", with works by Nadja Abt and Barbara Marcel, brings two complex and long-standing artistic strands of research together and deals with transatlantic labour and the cultural history of shipping and mining from a feminist and queer perspective.

Together, the works reference the architecture and history of the Bärenzwinger as well as its immediate neighbourhood, including the historic harbour, the Marinehaus (former clubhouse of the imperial navy) and the Brazilian embassy.

Based on texts by the writer, philosopher and cultural theorist Édouard Glissant, Nadja Abt presents "Ship of Relation". With this work she reinterprets the ship, traditionally a male-dominated space, as a place for feminist narratives and a multiplicity of relationships. Following Glissant's "Our boats are open, and we sail them for everyone", Abt considers the ship with its female crew as a metaphor for creating connections in postcolonial discourse. 

The artist incorporates concrete elements of seafaring, such as ropes, buoys or sails, into her composition and transforms the bear kennel into a ship's hull. In three fictional narratives, which can be read on boat fenders in the exhibition space, the voices on board report on the intention and background of their journey.

Barbara Marcel’s project "Golden Tone" is derived from her research into the historic and cultural landscape of Harz, the western mountain region of Germany, where many of the mining technologies of mineral soil extraction were first developed and later exported across the world.

The video installation reflects on the intersections of the past, present and future of this anthropogenic landscape through the particular history of the breeding, training and trading of canary birds in the region.In a video assemblage featuring hands and machines, silver and serinettes, contaminated heavy metal hills and falling spruce trees, touristic tours and intimate interviews, the iconic landscape of the German Harz gradually reveals its many hybrid layers. “Golden Tone” is a film about the Harz Roller canary birds, the domestication of mines and the queering of nature.

The exhibition "Birds and Buoys" opens the “Bricolage” programme and with it a series of explorations into the less visible present and history of the Bärenzwinger.

Curated by Isabel Jäger, Katja Kynast, Malte Pieper, Maja Smoszna

Grafik: Viktor Schmidt

Nadja abt

Nadja Abt is an artist and writer living between Berlin and Lisbon. Abt studied literature and art history at the Free University of Berlin as well as visual arts at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires. In her performances, videos and paintings, she constructs feminist narratives that reference the worlds of literature and film.

She is part of the artist collective Michelle Volta. She has recently shown works and performances at KW-Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Pivô, São Paulo, Casa Triângulo, São Paulo, among others.

barbara marcel

Barbara Marcel is an artist and filmmaker. Marcel studied film studies in Rio de Janeiro, holds an MA from the Institute Art in Context at the Berlin University of the Arts and is currently a PhD student at the Bauhaus University Weimar as a research fellow of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Her video installations and publications are often collages and essays of found and produced images, based on histories of colonialities. Her works propose experimentation with new ecological relations, processes of thought and practice.

Her work has been shown at ZKM, Karlsruhe; Galeria Metropolitana, Santiago de Chile; Savvy Contemporary Berlin; Broad Art Museum, Michigan; Espacio Pla, Buenos Aires; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; CeNak - Zoological Museum Hamburg; V240, Amsterdam; Athens Biennale; Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig and Galeria Marta Traba; Fundação Memorial da América Latina, São Paulo, among others.


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