July 8, 2016 - Museum für Naturkunde Berlin - Art/Nature II
July 8, 2016

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Photo: Carola Radke, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

Art/Nature II
Artistic Interventions by Fernando Bryce and Serotonin
July 19–October 16, 2016

Opening: July 18, 7–10pm

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Invalidenstraße 43
10115 Berlin

T +49 30 20938822

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What happens when contemporary art encounters natural history collections, museum practice and scientific research? Art/Nature is an international pilot project initiated by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the German Federal Cultural Foundation, inviting artists to create new works by exploring a natural history museum. Art/Nature aims to experimentally transcend communicative barriers between the domain of contemporary art and the natural history museum, thereby generating fresh perspectives on nature, scientific objects and on museum culture. The second intervention round will feature new works by Fernando Bryce (NYC/Berlin) and the radio art duo Serotonin (Berlin). Both interventions focus on the museum’s history and collections around 1900.

While researching in the museum, Fernando Bryce came across a box containing labels that had once been attached to objects and drawers in the mammal collection. Giving the name of the genus or species and details of collectors or geographical origins, these defunct relics evince a unique lyricism. Bryce has combined the labels with historical inventories, another hitherto largely neglected medium for ordering the museum’s items, to create a large-format series of pen-and-ink drawings and silkscreen prints. Paradoxurus adustus pays homage to seemingly inconspicuous “museum things,” visually communicating how natural history seeks to understand and appropriate the world. The second part of the work  addresses imagery relating to natural history research. Bryce likewise applies his technique of translating historical texts and images into pen-and-ink drawings in the series “Auf frischer Tat" (Caught in the act), exploring the representation of natural history research in early 20th century media. By selecting and linking images from newspaper articles, expedition materials, and popular science journals, he creates new contexts and reveals the political and cultural dimensions of science. Fernando Bryce—born 1965 in Lima, now living in New York and Berlin—is internationally renowned for his drawings using his “mimetic analysis” as a basis for reconstructing and reordering history. In 2015 he had his second solo exhibition at Alexander and Bonin in New York.

For the sound intervention Parcours dans la mer de ciel. A parcours through the ocean of heaven. Or: the Levitite created by the radio art duo Serotonin and curated by Gaby Hartel, the artists have developed five acoustic dioramas to comment on the history of research and collecting at the museum. The acoustic dioramas consist of small presentation spaces—white cubes—set up in peep-boxes. These visual, audio and conceptual exhibits correspond to the five chapters of an expeditionary tale, written and produced by Serotonin. The year is 1884: the recently established German nation is striving to gain political recognition on the world stage. Inspired by a levitation presented in a variety show, the young protagonist, van Berg, dreams of “an imperial fleet in the ocean of heaven.” Due to a chain of coincidences, he becomes the leader of an expedition to Africa, where he makes a spectacular discovery. This fictional story compresses cultural history from a critical perspective, broaching complex topics like crossing boundaries, defining oneself through the other, and the origins of national identity. Marie-Luise Goerke, author and producer of radio plays, and Matthias Pusch, sound engineer and musician, founded Serotonin in 2002. The artists are well-known for their elaborately produced fictional and semi-documentary works.

The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the German Federal Cultural Foundation are delighted to invite you to the second part of Art/Nature. As an integrated research museum and active part of a globally linked research infrastructure, the museum’s interconnected activities comprise collection-based research, developing collections, and science-based public engagement. With responsibility for an internationally significant collection of more than 30 million objects, the museum aims to study this unique resource from the perspectives of science, culture and art.

Head of project: Anita Hermannstädter / coordination: Yori Schultka.

Contact: kunst [​at​] mfn-berlin.de
Media contact: Gesine Steiner: gesine.steiner [​at​] mfn-berlin.de

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
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