April 21, 2014 - Badischer Kunstverein - Michaela Melián, Karin Michalski and An Unhappy Archive
April 21, 2014

Michaela Melián, Karin Michalski and An Unhappy Archive

Michaela Melián, Radioturm, 2012/2013. Thread,
inket print.

Michaela Melián: IN A MIST

Karin Michalski: The Alphabet of Feeling Bad
& An Unhappy Archive by Sabian Baumann and Karin Michalski
25 April–22 June 2014

Opening: Thursday, 24 April, 7pm

Badischer Kunstverein
Waldstraße 3
D – 76133 Karlsruhe

info [​at​] badischer-kunstverein.de


Michaela Melián

With her solo exhibition IN A MIST at Badischer Kunstverein, Michaela Melián is showing a new multipart work that encompasses a range of different media, including film, sound, drawing, photography, a mural, and installative elements.

The visual artist and musician approaches historical narratives and explores their cultural projections. In her works she develops multifaceted fields of memory and complex systems of reference. She transforms her precise research into spatial sculptural installations that lend visibility to social conditions.

The starting point for her new work IN A MIST is the play Fritz Bauer, which was written in 1929 by Natalia Saz and W. Selichova and premiered at the Moscow Children’s Theater, where it was shown regularly for three years. In this children’s play, the class struggle and harsh living conditions experienced by a working-class family in Germany during the late 1920s are addressed from a Soviet perspective.

Many of the issues raised in this theatrical piece are still pertinent today, such as precarious employment situations or unequal educational opportunities. Furthermore, the play reflects a basic conflict of the last hundred years: the antagonistic relationship between communism and capitalism.

In a collage of music, language, and images, Michaela Melián takes up representations of topics treated in this play. She disassembles individual elements and issues, shedding light on the topicality of certain thematic complexes from the play by integrating a variety of perspectives. She then forms new constellations, presented in a dynamic spatial situation in a mist of past and present.

Curated by Nadja Quante

The new film In a Mist is co-produced by Badischer Kunstverein, Münchner Kammerspiele, and Bayerischer Rundfunk / Hörspiel und Medienkunst.

Michaela Melián (b. 1956 in Munich) lives and works in Hamburg and Munich.

Part of 
2014–1914 Peace + War
22nd Festival of European Culture Karlsruhe, 7–25 May


Karin Michalski: The Alphabet of Feeling Bad & An Unhappy Archive by Sabian Baumann and Karin Michalski
With contributions by Sara Ahmed, Sabian Baumann, Lauren Berlant, Dafne Boggeri, Elfe Brandenburger, Mel Y. Chen, Ann Cvetkovich, Jennifer Doyle, Feel Tank Chicago, Elizabeth Freeman, Jack Halberstam, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Heather Love, José Esteban Muñoz, Elspeth Probyn, Bettina Stehli & Anne Käthi Wehrli.

The exhibition in the Kunstverein’s Atrium presents Karin Michalski’s video film The Alphabet of Feeling Bad and An Unhappy Archive, a collaborative work by Sabian Baumann and Karin Michalski. Both video and archive explore the potential of personal “bad” feelings that can be experienced collectively, depathologized, and thus politicized.

The Alphabet of Feeling Bad (2012) shows an experimental interview with theorist and activist Ann Cvetkovich. It is based on conversations with the filmmaker Michalski and follows the tradition of activist initiatives like the Socialist Patients’ Collective Heidelberg (SPK) of the 1970s, and the more recent Public Feelings groups in American cities. Here, negative emotions like depression, passivity, or shame are not considered personal failure or sickness; they are rather politicized in the context of neoliberal working conditions, but also homophobia and racism. The Alphabet of Feeling Bad is based on the idea that terms might be understood as tools for enabling collectivity, thereby renegotiating the meaning of these once negatively connoted feelings through a queer-feminist approach.

An Unhappy Archive assembles texts, books, posters, drawings, and other materials that call into question the social norm of “happiness.” The name refers to theorist Sara Ahmed, who describes the “unhappy archive” as a collective, feminist-queer, and anti-racist project. The archive was initiated in 2013 by Andrea Thal at Les Complices in Zurich and is now being reactivated and expanded in a new spatial context.

Sabian Baumann works as artist in Zurich.

Karin Michalski works as artist and film and video art curator in Berlin.

For information on the accompanying talks & events, please visit www.badischer-kunstverein.de.


Michaela Melián, Karin Michalski and An Unhappy Archive at Badischer Kunstverein
Badischer Kunstverein
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