October 6, 2014 - Künstlerhaus Bethanien - Prajakta Potnis
October 6, 2014

Prajakta Potnis

Prajakta Potnis, the kitchen debate, 2014. Detail of installation. Courtesy of the artist.

Prajakta Potnis
the kitchen debate

10 October–2 November 2014

Opening: 9 October, 7pm

Künstlerhaus Bethanien
Kottbusser Strasse 10
10999 Berlin
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2pm–7pm
Free admission


Prajakta Potnis (born 1980 in Thane, India, lives and works in Mumbai) holds a grant by KfW Stiftung for the International Studio Programme at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin and will be finishing her residency by showcasing her current project the kitchen debate.

Her work explores the interplay between the invisible and the visible, the private and the public, the internal and the external. In her art, walls, partitions and even the skin as the outer limit of the human body appear both as material objects and metaphorical concepts. Her installations, sculptures, drawings, paintings, photos and videos are distorted representations of everyday items, inventing new contexts and creating bizarre new worlds.

Potnis used her time at Künstlerhaus Bethanien to review her previous approach and to link it to the history of Berlin. The Berlin Wall, a relic of the Cold War, serves as a conceptual inspiration for this artistic endeavour. While doing research on the Cold War, Potnis came across the famous ideological clash between Richard Nixon, then US Vice President, and the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, known as “The Kitchen Debate.” At the American National Exhibition held in Moscow in 1959, officially designed to promote mutual understanding between the two enemies, both statesmen engaged in a heated and impromptu debate on the pros and cons of communism and capitalism. It was recorded live on camera in the kitchen of an American model house. Potnis’s multimedia installation the kitchen debate alludes to this anecdote by exhibiting modern home appliances. She creates a new network of references that transcend historical ideologies and challenge the relation between the political and the private, thus renegotiating the kitchen as a stage which exposes the transformation of cultural conventions.

A catalogue of the exhibition is available: Nicola Müllerschön and Christoph Tannert (eds.), Prajakta Potnis: Store in a Cool and Dry Place, including essays by Zasha Colah, Atreyee Gupta and Merel van Tilburg, Dortmund: Verlag Kettler, 2014.

Promoting cultural diversity is one of the primary goals of the foundation KfW Stiftung, Frankfurt. Together with the cultural centre Künstlerhaus Bethanien, it has set up an artists-in-residence programme that seeks to stimulate intercultural dialogue by providing up-and coming artists from Latin America, Africa and Asia with the opportunity to spend 12 months in Berlin. Besides encouraging artistic production and critical reflection, the programme facilitates encounters between those working in arts and culture. The infrastructure and the international environment of the cultural centre offer a suitable setting, allowing participants to try out new ideas, to engage in debates and to carry out projects. 

For more information, please contact
Dr. Nicola Müllerschön, Programme Manager Arts and Culture, KfW Stiftung, Frankfurt: nicola.muellerschoen [​at​] kfw-stiftung.de
Valeria Schulte-Fischedick, International Studio Programme, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin:
schultef [​at​] bethanien.de


KfW Stiftung and Künstlerhaus Bethanien present Prajakta Potnis
Künstlerhaus Bethanien
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