January 12, 2018 - Museum für Naturkunde Berlin - Kunst/Natur. Artistic Interventions at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
January 12, 2018

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Light experiments for the micro-opera Rete Mirabile | Wundernetz at the wet collection. © Museum für Naturkunde / Carola Radke.

Kunst/Natur. Artistic Interventions at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
Round IV
January 30–April 29, 2018

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Invalidenstraße 43
10115 Berlin

T +49 30 20938822

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Kunst/Natur opening event Round IV
January 29, 7–9:30pm 
Artistic Interventions by Mark Dion, Assaf Gruber, Ulrike Haage & Mark Ravenhill and Elizabeth Price 
Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Dinosaur Hall 

World Premiere of Rete Mirabile Wundernetz 
February 12, 6:30–7:15pm 
A micro-opera in ten acts by Ulrike Haage (concept, composition) & Mark Ravenhill (libretto)


What drives someone to wait for hours for the chance to observe a particular animal or spend years traveling through foreign countries to collect plants, or rocks? The desire to explore these motivations inspired Mark Dion’s artistic intervention Collectors Collected. The Material Culture of Field Work at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. He looks at the scientists who have gathered objects for the museum’s collections, much like an anthropologist studies a foreign culture. Dion focuses on materials used outside for work “in the field.” In doing so, he asks how these objects provide information about the technological, political, historical, and economic aspects of scientific work.

Curator: Christine Heidemann, Berlin

Mark Dion (b. 1961 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, based in New York) has been working since the 1980s on our relationship to nature in science and art. He has exhibited internationally, at venues including the Natural History Museum in London (2007), documenta 13 in Kassel (2012), the Istanbul Biennale, and the ICA Boston (both 2017).


Assaf Gruber’s artworks often deal with the interplay between people’s ideologies and their life stories, and with the way in which they shape and influence private and public spheres and relationships. This was also the theme of his film installation The Conspicuous Parts. The film challenges the ways in which museums represent and communicate scientific facts or assumptions. The life stories of the protagonists—a taxidermist and writer working at the museum—elucidate how the presentation of those facts is shaped by the desires of individuals.

Curator: Dorothée Brill, Berlin

Assaf Gruber's (b. 1980 in Jerusalem, based in Berlin) film work stems from an abstract yet concrete sculptural practice that engages with the narrative expressiveness of objects, and draws attention to narrative sculptural encounters in still and moving images. His solo exhibitions include The Anonymity of the Night at the Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi in Lodz, Citizen in the Making at Eigen+Art Lab in Berlin, and Rumor at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw (upcoming).


Elizabeth Price’s BERLINWAL is made from objects and spaces of the natural history museum itself. The artist re-combined these elements to evoke kaleidoscopic associations. Price’s intervention into the museum’s architecture invites you to dwell in the gallery space and gaze into a neighboring courtyard that once held the Whale Hall, opened in 1935 and destroyed in a fire storm in 1945. Its most spectacular exhibit was a bow head whale skeleton.  A publication that is part of the work tells the story of the skeleton and the Hall from their earliest geological formations to recent political history.

Curator: Bergit Arends, London

Elizabeth Price (b. 1966 in Bradford, UK) was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize and the Paul Hamlyn Award, both in 2012. Her recent works include A RESTORATION (2016) at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and the curated exhibition In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive and You Were Full of Joy (2016/17). Price lives and works in London.


With her poetic opera Rete Mirabile | Wundernetz, Ulrike Haage brings new life to the museum’s wet collections. The composer translated her exploration of the space’s material and history into an associative fabric of sound. The audience experiences the work, which oscillates between minimal music and imaginative echoes of renaissance music, while moving with the singers and musicians through the collections. Mark Ravenhill’s libretto plays with images from Vampyroteuthis infernalis, an essay by Vilém Flusser on the vampire squid’s experience of the world. He approaches the material poetically, critically and symbolically. The micro-opera is composed in different poetic genres, reflecting shifts of perspective and imagery between human and animal and encouraging reflection on human hubris and impermanence.

The work of composer, pianist, and director Ulrike Haage (b. 1957 in Kassel, Germany; based in Berlin) combines jazz, avant-garde, classical music and literature. She received the German Jazz Award in 2003.

Dramatist and director Mark Ravenhill (b. 1966 in Haywards Heath, UK; based in London) writes plays, scripts and radio dramas. His piece Shopping and Fucking was a world-wide success.

Premiere on February 12, 6:30pm and 7:30pm 
Performances: February 19 and 26, and March 5, 6:30pm and 7:30pm (approx. 40 min.) 
Reservation required: kunst [​at​] mfn-berlin.de


Art/Nature. Artistic Interventions at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is an international pilot project co-sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, inviting artists to create new works through the exploration of a natural history museum. The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is pleased to invite you to the final round of Art/Nature.

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
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