October 2, 2013 - KIM at Leuphana University - Some Issues of History at Agathenburg Castle
October 2, 2013

Some Issues of History at Agathenburg Castle

Megan Francis Sullivan, Road Trip, 2013. Installation view (detail), Some Issues of History, KIM Leuphana University of Lueneburg at Schloss Agathenburg, 2013. Photo: Fred Dott

Some Issues of History
27 October–1 December, 2013

Opening: Saturday, 26 October, 6pm
Performance by Jeremiah Day The Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness, 6:30pm

Agathenburg Castle
D-21684 Agathenburg (near Hamburg)
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 2–6pm; 
Saturday–Sunday and holidays 11am–6pm


Artists: Jeremiah Day, Renée Green, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Megan Francis Sullivan and the winners of the Daniel Frese Prize 2013, Gilta Jansen & Gordon Castellane and Daniela Töbelmann & Carola Keitel

What circulates today as “history” is undergoing subjective processes of negotiation by a younger generation of artists. The same goes for the question, which “past” is acknowledged as one’s own, or is deemed significant, be it from a personal or collective standpoint. It can be asserted that artistic recourses on history are carried out by means of the most varied approaches and follow more open logics. After the fall of the cognitive monopoly of historiography over a universally valid idea of “history,” and the reassessment of artistic contributions connected to that—especially in the framework of a development of a “cultural memory”—a new constellation can be discerned: an artistic orientation towards the past no longer takes a corrective approach, a search for the “accurate” or “other accurate” narrative. Instead, there is an attempt through retrospection to visualize and examine alleged (un)certainties about the past within the present. This includes reflecting on the complexity of memory formation, and its entwinement with internal and external worlds, imaginations, and materialities. In this sense, such works amount to more than historic poses. Rather, historiography and poetry, fact and fiction, archival finds and creation go hand in hand in artistic productions, allowing for insights into their alternating conditionalities. Against this background, the exhibition Some Issues of History assumes less the position of “Artist as Historian,” as proposed some years ago by Mark Godfrey, who above all are concerned with historic documentation. Rather, artistic practices are presented that are partially based on archival research and utilize methods resembling those employed by historians, yet only as their points of departure. What is characteristic of the exhibited approaches is much more their poetic abstraction of themes associated with history. The chosen methods and aesthetics of the artworks speak to the viewer on a level that may be affective and shaped by theatrical allusions.

In his installation and performance The Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness (2012), Jeremiah Day deals with the fall of the US-American Senator Frank Church, who in the 1970s publicised political repression and the unconstitutional acquisition of private data by intelligence services. Due to the connection to the highly topical whistleblowing affair, this work prompts one to consider the continuities between the past and present. While the installation integrates archival material, Day’s performance gives a fragmentary account of the events and by means of dance sequences lends the alternatingly poetic and prosaic oral history a specific urgency.

In correspondence with the exhibition venue, which is steeped in history, Gilta Jansen and Gordon Castellane present the extensive and walkable installation Times Timing Times (2013), a stage-like mise-en-scène composed of movables, letterings, reflecting foils and textiles dramatised by means of a light choreography. In a metaphorical sense, the work functions as a narratively charged storage for memories and stories that affect the viewer walking through the installation. This opens up an aesthetic space of possibilities in which imagined collective and private narratives dovetail in an associative and poetic manner.

The starting point of Megan Francis Sullivan‘s work Road Trip (2013) is a memory of a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a school child, where the enormous painting Horse Fair (1853–1855) by French artist Rosa Bonheur deeply impressed her. Years later, Sullivan took a road trip across the country to view another work of Bonheur, a portrait of Buffalo Bill (1889), which hangs in Cody, Wyoming. For the exhibit, Sullivan repeats Bonheur’s work, deliberately implying abstractions and differences. Anachronistic aspects like proximity, self-invention, and adventure emerge like spectres. The gesture of using an over-size canvas—once a medium for history paintings—additionally marks the mediatization and implementation of history that has undergone an irrevocable change over time.

The artists Daniela Töbelmann and Carola Keitel present several works from the large-scale project they are realising in the both contemporaneously and historically staged Hanseatic City of Lüneburg. The performative Walking to Waikiki. See and Go – an Exhibition and a Stroll (2013) is grasped as a complex examination of different—alienated, rediscovered, touristic, everyday and novel—views of public space. The found structures are regarded as experienceable relics of the social and geographical history of places, thus leading to an aesthetic and socially oriented perspective on history.

The collages and drawings of Renée Green‘s multimedia body of works, Endless Dreams and Water Between (2009)—commissioned by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich—refer to supertemporal phenomena, desires and fears. Sensations, perceptions and internal images intertwine with different stories, places and people surrounded by water. Lines of words reminiscent of concrete poetry share the pictorial space with figures of George Sand and the island of Majorca, a typology of the dramaturge Georges Polti, as well as private letters that address the themes of memory and history for their part. The works span a range from lyrical-literary to melancholic perspectives on historical issues.

While the multipart slide projection Never Land (2008) unfolds and orchestrates the documentation of ‘failed moments’ the artist found in a local Cypriot newspaper archive and thus lets sceneries become suspicious, a very picturesque atmosphere is recorded in Christodoulos Panayiotou‘s work Sunrise (1 October 2010, 6.15) (2010). This photograph depicts bathers on the coast of the city of Limassol imbued in golden, early morning light. The lyrical motif might evoke a moment of longing. But those familiar with the country’s history will notice that the date in the Sunrise title designates the fiftieth anniversary of Cyprian independence from Great Britain. In the light of the country’s political instability lasting until today, it lends the pacifying effect of the picture a melancholic and hollow aftertaste.

Upcoming dates

Friday 8 November, 4pm 
Susanne Leeb: “Cycles of painting and entangled histories: Luc Tuymans and Tshibumba Kanda Matulu”
Sven Beckstette: “Abstraction and Reality: Representing History in Abstract Art”
Venue: Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Campus Building 5, Room 5.326
Scharnhorststraße 1, D-21335 Lüneburg

Friday 15 November, 2pm
Sven Lütticken: “History in Motion”
Venue: Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Campus Building 5, Room 5.326

Friday 22 November, 6pm
Hilmar Schäfer: “Temporalities of the artistic field. On the practice, materiality and historicity of artistic production”
Venue: Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Campus Hall 25

Saturday 30 November, 5pm
Renée Green: Endless Dreams and Water Between (74 minutes, English, 2009)
Screening of the film and guided tour through the exhibition Some Issues of History
Venue: Agathenburg Castle

Tuesday 3 December, 2:15pm
Jeremiah Day: “‘The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.’  Art and the Practice of Memory”
Open discussion with an introductory talk
Venue: Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg

Tuesday 10 December, 2:15pm
Fabian Reimann: “Depuis Chauvet jusqu’à après demain (From Chauvet until the day after tomorrow)”
Venue: Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg

Further information will be announced on www.kim-art.net.

The lectures and seminars are based on a cooperation of KIM, Innovation Incubator at Leuphana University of Lüneburg with Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

Innovation Incubator
Leuphana University of Lüneburg
Project Office: Building 5, 4th Floor, Room 421
Scharnhorststraße 1
D-21335 Lüneburg


The exhibition is based on a cooperation of KIM, Innovation Incubator of Leuphana University of Lüneburg with Agathenburg Castle. The Innovation-Incubator Lüneburg is an EU major project, financed by the European Regional Development Fund and co-funded by the federal state of Lower Saxony.

KIM at Leuphana University of Lüneburg presents Some Issues of History at Agathenburg Castle
KIM at Leuphana University
Share - Some Issues of History at Agathenburg Castle
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York