May 3, 2015 - Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art - Nevin Aladağ and Leopold Kessler
May 3, 2015

Nevin Aladağ and Leopold Kessler

Top: Nevin Aladağ, Raise the Roof (still), 2007. Video. Bottom: Leopold Kessler, Klettergerüsterweiterung, 2015. Elementary school Heiligengeisttor, Oldenburg, Germany. Intervention, mixed media.*

Nevin Aladağ and Leopold Kessler
Repairing the City

8 May–August 16, 2015

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
Katharinenstraße 23
26121 Oldenburg
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 2–6pm, 
Saturday–Sunday 11am–6pm

T +49 (0) 441 235 3208
info [​at​]

The dual exhibition, Repairing the City by Nevin Aladağ and Leopold Kessler, explores the different ways art poetically yet critically engages the city as an intricate structure requiring enduring attention and maintenance. The title, inspired by some of the artists’ earlier works, encompasses the codes, divisions, norms and invisible social processes guiding our behavior in public space. For instance, Kessler’s earlier series of interventions in public space, where his persona—a deadpan engineer in a signature blue uniform—enacts his civic duty through a compulsion to repair broken things or make structural modifications to improve “appropriate use.” In so doing, Kessler reveals the blind automatisms endemic to the performance of our everyday habits.

Following the artists, the notion of reparation will be woven into the discussion on the institutional context of the Edith-Russ-Haus; a space with international visibility while operating in relative isolation from the city itself. How is the institution positioned in the city fabric as a social space, and how does it communicate architecturally? The ambition of the project is to initiate a dialogue with the local milieu: a prosperous, mid-size (west) German city shaped by standardised safety codes, molded by pleasures and pressures of consumption, and carrying the weight of a proud “citoyen” tradition (the Council of Oldenburg has a long history of over 600 years). It is through the artists recent investigations on such issues, their empathetically critical and humorous voices, where strategies to overcome our institutional isolation can find form.  

Leopold Kessler’s newly commissioned pieceKlettergerüsterweiterung is a large-scale intervention, departing from a well-known children’s playground structure. The geodesic construction of the playground climber (the perfect urban metaphor for rigorously engineered experimental/educational “play”) is extended by an asymmetrical, parasitical prosthesis. In breaking all the safety codes, the work’s absurdity highlights not only the overly controlled nature of public space in Europe, but also the intricate coexistence between official and (ever-shrinking) informal structures.

Nevin Aladağ’s short films, like her performance and installation works, emphasise social and political borders alongside moments of cultural translation. With a particular interest in sound, Aladağ often investigates urban environments. Repairing the City will stage several of her object-based works and video pieces, focusing on the restaged architectural interventions from Läufer and Voyeur, to break with the fortress-like nature of our institutional architecture.

With a space dedicated to her previous performances (Hochparterre), a collection of the poetic ways through which she instrumentalized the human voice will be exhibited, revealing the complexities of how we “listen” to a city.

With wit, responsiveness and obsessive observations, both artists have developed a diverse language exposing sensitive domains where social and political critique should be applied. They also indicate the wasted number of creative ways in which inhabitants (citoyens) could examine their architecture and social structures; ultimately displaying how these mutual forces compose an aggregate city. 

Nevin Aladağ was born 1972 in Van, Turkey. She studied Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and moved to Berlin in 2002. Her works have drawn international attention, with solo and group shows at venues including Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Kunsthalle Basel, Art Space Pythagorion, Samos, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Sharjah Biennial 11, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, ARTER Vehbi Koc Foundation, Istanbul, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT) in Tokyo, the XIV Biennale Internazionale di Scultura in Carrara, the Biennale Cuvée in Linz, Hayward Gallery London, 11th Istanbul Biennial and the 8th Taipei Biennial among others.

Leopold Kessler, born 1976 in Munich, Germany, lives and works in Vienna. He studied sculpture in Munich and Vienna, where he graduated in 2004. His works have been shown in various national and international solo shows, like Malmö Konsthall, Bunkier Sztuki/Krakow, Secession/Vienna as well as group shows in UMOCA/Salt Lake City, Palais de Tokyo and de Appel.  He participated in Singapore Biennial 2011, the 10th Lyon Biennial and 8th Sharjah Biennial. Moreover he realised numerous temporary and permanent projects in public space.

Images above: Top: Nevin Aladağ, Raise the Roof (still), 2007. Video. Courtesy to the artist and Wentrup Gallery, Berlin. Bottom: Leopold Kessler, Klettergerüsterweiterung, 2015. Elementary school Heiligengeisttor, Oldenburg, Germany. Intervention, mixed media. Courtesy the artist.

Nevin Aladağ and Leopold Kessler at Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art
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