Assaf Gruber: Rumour

Assaf Gruber: Rumour

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Assaf Gruber, The Conspicuous Parts, 2018, video.

February 16, 2018
Assaf Gruber
February 16–May 13, 2018
Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
2 Jazdów Street
00-467 Warsaw
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–7pm,
Thursday 12–9pm

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Assaf Gruber (born in Jerusalem, lives in Berlin) makes films and sculptures that deal with the interplay between the ideologies of individuals and their personal biographies, and the way in which these shape and influence private and public spheres. The exhibition at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art curated by Jarosław Lubiak brings together recent and earlier works by Gruber that examine relationships between cultural institutions, from natural history museums to art academies, and subjects who had experiences that turned them against artistic creation and cultural establishments.

Using black humour, but with an affectionate touch, both towards his protagonists and art history, Gruber’s artworks enact a fluctuating focus on crucial choices made by individuals, their daily lives, and their realities affected by global politics.

The mysterious desire of Anne, an elderly security guard at the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden, to spend the rest of her life next to the renowned sculptures and paintings of the leftist Polish avant-garde artists group “a.r” drives the film The Right (2015).

The Calling (2017) addresses the theme of dubious refusals of socialist, East German art academies to accept Thomas, a son of a protestant pastor, as a fine arts student. Thomas wonders if the reasons for the rejection were due to his lack of talent or rather his religious background. His daughter, Daphne, is the narrator in the film and also the heroine of The Conspicuous Parts (2018).

In The Conspicuous Parts, Daphne, who struggles to come to terms with her father’s frustration, has become a professional taxidermist. She works at the Natural History Museum of Berlin. Her daily routine inside the museum dioramas is disrupted when she meets Catherine, a British writer who came to the museum to search for facts for her new novel about a suspicious expedition to a Caribbean coral reef in Cuba undertaken by East German scientists in the late 1960s. During their chance encounter, the two women start a rather unusual communication.

Binding (2011) is a phantasmagoric film that encounters the previous three works in a surprisingly poetic moment: a lost paradise that reveals itself as the golf course of Caesarea: a father and a son are looking for a sign or a shelter within the orderly environment of a golf course, but they find nothing. The dichotomy between the contrived nature of the golf course and the restless, naked bodies of the two explores the relation between myths, social conventions and the human desire to mark territories.

In the exhibition the photographs and sculptures that complement the moving images accentuate tensions and interdependencies among Western culture, religion and nature.

All the narratives in the exhibition are fictional and the primary question is not whether the stories are based on fact or fabrication. They are rather concerned with the possibility that a rumour itself might be authentic, as it is this peculiarity that ignites a dialogue with the audience.


Assaf Gruber (Jerusalem, 1980) is a sculptor and filmmaker who lives and works in Berlin. Both his time-based works and installations focus on the manner in which political ideologies of individuals intertwine with personal stories, and the way in which they form social relations within private and public sphere. Gruber is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts (HISK) in Ghent. His work has received funding from, among others, the Ostrovsky Family Fund, New York, the Berlin Senate, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, and the Rothschild Foundation. Upon graduating in Paris, he received the first prize from “Les amis des beaux-arts de Paris.” His solo exhibitions include the Museum of Natural History, Berlin (2018) and the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2018). His films have been featured in festivals, including the Berlinale Film Festival (2016) and the International Short film Festival of Oberhausen (2016). In 2017, Gruber won the Feature Expanded development award at Lo schermo dell’arte Film Festival, Florence.


Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art is financed by Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. Partner of the exhibition: Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin; financial support: Ostrovsky Family Fund.

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Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
February 16, 2018

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