Goshka Macuga | Stairway to Nowhere

May 24 - Aug. 4, 2019

Goshka Macuga, Kabinett der Abstrakten (after El Lissitzky) 2003, Installationsansicht: Raimund Zakwoski
Goshka Macuga, Kabinett der Abstrakten (after El Lissitzky) 2003, Installation view: Raimund Zakwoski

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, the Kestner Gesellschaft is presenting a solo exhibition by the Polish-British artist Goshka Macuga (*1967 in Warsaw, lives and works in London). The internationally renowned artist questions historiography, especially key ideas of modernism such as a belief in progress, authorship, and utopia. In detective-like research, she finds breaks, pitfalls, and ambiguities in a supposedly linear narrative. This exhibition focuses on the Bauhaus, the influential school of art, architecture, and design, and its connection to the Kestner Gesellschaft. Around forty installations, sculptures, textiles, and collages by Goshka Macuga will be on view throughout the building. The artist is creating new works specifically for the exhibition at the Kestner Gesellschaft, including a tapestry and one installation in collaboration with the London lighting designer Michael Anastassiades, among others.

Goshka Macuga's unique artistic practice is based on historical and archival research, which she uses in her works. As an artist, she thus simultaneously assumes the role of a historian, curator, and designer. Macuga poses the question of authorship on various levels: she adapts designs, integrates works by other artists into her work, for example by Joseph Beuys, Christo, Art & Language and General Idea, and collaborates with others, including the world-famous fashion designer Gareth Pugh and the sculptor Jeffrey James.

The focus of her exhibition at the Kestner Gesellschaft is the changing ideological positioning and political instrumentalization of the Bauhaus from a historical and present-day perspective. While today the Bauhaus is often perceived as a coherent unit, as a brand of clear design, Macuga seeks to artistically demonstrate the contrasting worldviews within which the institution of the Bauhaus was positioned or positioned itself. These range from early spiritual, socialist, and Marxist ideologies to apolitical or capitalist positions. The critical examination of the representative function of design plays a special role, not least based on iconic designs from the milieu of the three directors of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Mies van der Rohe, who also embody different views of the Bauhaus.

Goshka Macuga studied from 1991 to 1996 at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and at Goldsmiths, University of London. Soon after her studies, her works were shown internationally, and in 2008 she was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize. Her works are exhibited in numerous institutions in Germany and internationally, including the Neues Museum in Nuremberg (2018), Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (2018), Witte de With in Rotterdam (2017), Fondazione Prada in Milan (2016), the New Museum in New York (2016), the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin (2016), Documenta 13 (2012), and the Venice Biennale (2009).

Curators: Lea Altner and Christina Végh

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We thank our patrons for the support of this exhibition.


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