May 12, 2021 - E-WERK Luckenwalde - The Archive Show / Peles Empire: the long sleep of amber
May 12, 2021

E-WERK Luckenwalde

View of the long sleep of amber, Peles Empire. E-WERK Luckenwalde Turbine Hall, Germany, 2021. Photo: Trevor Good.

The Archive Show
Lamin Fofana, Keiken, Henrike Naumann, Jenna Sutela, Lauryn Youden, L. Zylberberg
Peles Empire: the long sleep of amber
May 1–July 18, 2021

E-WERK Luckenwalde spring programme 2021

E-WERK Luckenwalde is pleased to announce the group exhibition The Archive Show and the solo presentation the long sleep of amber by Peles Empire.  

The Archive Show: Lamin Fofana, Keiken, Henrike Naumann, Jenna Sutela, Lauryn Youden, L. Zylberberg
May 1 – July 18, 2021

E-WERK Luckenwalde was built in 1913 as a coal power station and has been shape-shifting and adapting to time ever since. In 2019, after 30 years of lethargy, artistic nonprofit energy provider Performance Electrics gGmbH reanimated E-WERK Luckenwalde into a renewable Kunststrom power station and contemporary art centre, reclaiming the building’s original function and turning the power back on. In the past 100 years, the building has amassed an impressive archive: building plans, blueprints, technical improvements, documentation of engineering and economic practice, reports and correspondence letters.

For The Archive Show, E-WERK Luckenwalde has commissioned six contemporary artists to explore both the visible and invisible narratives of its century old archives. Acknowledging that the archive is never static nor does it simply pertain to the past, E-WERK now invites contemporary artists to interpret the stories that are yet to be read and written through the structuring principle of the “score.” Each artist will present their devised score performatively through their chosen medium, including a performative ritual, DJ set, fermentation workshop, or video installation. On May 1, Jenna Sutela launched The Archive Show with “Spit Drink” (2021), a fermentation workshop where a group of people prepared alcohol together based on the ancient method of mouth-chewed sake. 

Each performance will be open to the public depending on current COVID-19 regulations. To account for current restrictions, video and photo documentations will also be made available on E-WERK’s digital platforms and website.

May 1: Jenna Sutela
May 15: Lamin Fofana
May 29: Lauryn Youden
June 12: Henrike Naumann
June 26: Keiken / L. Zylberberg

The Archive Show also includes a German and English podcast series, inviting each artist to host a discussion with a theoretician, scientist, historian or other professionals of their choice. In the first episode of the six-episode series, artist Jenna Sutela and writer and cultural theoretician Astrida Neimanis discuss “the hypersea” and other watery subjects. 

From June 12, a culmination of the performances-related paraphernalia will be on view in Gallery One until July 18. Please refer to E-WERK’s website for the latest updates.

Curated by Adriana Tranca (Assistant Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde) with artistic direction from Helen Turner (Artistic Director and Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde).

Peles Empire: the long sleep of amber
Open by appointment until July 18, 2021 

Peles Empire are the second recipient of The Flag Commission; an annual commissioning opportunity for an artist or collective to create an outdoor installation inspired by and for display on the three flag poles at the building’s impressive entrance. In response Peles Empire have also created a large-scale installation for the Turbine Hall. Both explore the ancient, mythological and forgotten narratives of electricity and draw on materials including Jesmonite, ash, ceramics, photography and textiles. This work connects the material history of the power station with contemporary processes in a fitting tribute to the transformation of E-WERK from a relic of the fossil fuel era into a contemporary ecological power station. 

The title pays homage to the earliest discoveries of electricity, in particular the Ancient Greeks, who in ca. 600 BC discovered static electricity by rubbing fur on amber; Greek for electron. Throughout the exhibition, Peles Empire play with this breaking point between science and mythology and hierarchical tensions of value, knowledge construction, and linear time progression to problematize the concepts of discovery, invention, illusion, reality, and the arrogance of present society to presume that contemporary knowledge(s) reign superior. The symbiotic relationship of fire and electricity is played out on the flags, which grace the entrance to the building and work to underline the continuous theme of contingency and control in the artists’ work. Fire and electricity are both a fleeting, almost illusionistic natural phenomenon equally impossible to grasp or fully control, with the potential to precariously swing between pure destruction and creation. 

In the long sleep of amber Peles Empire have entropically cocooned natural elements of the power station, from carbon to heat, via the contingent processes of ceramics and casting, to hint at the fleeting precarity of time, history and social innovation.

Co-curated by Helen Turner (Artistic Director and Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde) and Adriana Tranca (Assistant Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde).

E-WERK Luckenwalde
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