October 17, 2017 - Künstlerhaus Bremen - Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr: Being sad is not a hobby
October 17, 2017

Künstlerhaus Bremen

Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr, Empty Village, 2017. Video, 22:40 minutes.

Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr
Being sad is not a hobby
September 2–November 5, 2017

Künstlerhaus Bremen
Am Deich 68/69
28199 Bremen
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 2–7pm

T +49 421 508598


Last year, Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr became acquainted with the professor for architectural history and theory Elizabeth Pigou-Dennis in Jamaica. In relation with one of her texts they visited Island Village, a shopping centre with entertainment facilities in the city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s north coast. It mainly plays host to cruise ship tourists and is housed in buildings that display an idiosyncratic interpretation of traditional Jamaican architecture. Six months later, they travelled all together to the Düppel Museum Village in Berlin and the Groß Raaden Archaeological Open Air Museum near Rostock. Both sites present replicas of Slavic villages of the 9th and 10th centuries. These three places make up the center of Henning Fehr’s and Philipp Rühr’s project for the Künstlerhaus Bremen that introduces their new video Empty Village.

The German and Jamaican villages filmed by the artists consist of approximate reconstructions of historical structures. Their appearance builds on the intention of enabling an authentic experience. Yet they end up confronting tourism with architectural history, self-marketing with identity politics. Over the course of filmed conversations with Elizabeth Pigou-Dennis, the head of the Düppel Museum Village discusses the ways in which, since its founding, the site has incorporated diverse time eras into one architectural ensemble that serves various functions. He evokes actions that occasionally take place there, for instance re-enactments of historical occurrences, or regular “living history” performances—an active and educative tool used to convey a sense of the everyday life of the past. The film stages the coexistence of surreal as well as didactic or pragmatic dimensions and recalls the interaction of traces, uncertainties and memory in historiography.

Henning Fehr (*1985 in Erlangen) and Philipp Rühr (*1986 in Brühl) have collaborated since their time studying at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. They work primarily with installations involving the medium of film. Their Bremen exhibition is the counterpart of their installation Studio Visit, on view this summer at the Sprengel Museum Hannover. It presented interviews with Jamaican American musicians living in New York who recount their encounter with the German music project Rhythm & Sound. The show at the Künstlerhaus Bremen will be accompanied by a publication to be released in the fall by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König.

The exhibition is  supported by Stiftung Kunstfonds and Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung.

Künstlerhaus Bremen
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Being sad is not a hobby
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