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23 Nov 2010

Barrier (free) – An exploration of resistance and obstacles at ratskeller, Berlin

Bani Abidi, Security Barrier Type G – Traffic Police, Karachi, 2008, inkjetprint

Barrier (free) – An exploration of resistance and obstacles
ratskeller – Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst


opening hours: 10 am - 6pm exhibition length: 25.Nov 2010 -21.Jan 2011

Birgit Naumann
0049 30 902963712

ratskeller – Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst
Möllendorffstraße 06
10367 Berlin

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Barrier (free) – An exploration of resistance and obstacles

Bani Abidi (PK), Claudia Aravena Abughosh (Cl/D), Sylvie Boisseau & Frank Westermeyer (D), Silvia Beck (D), Ronald Gerber (D), Nina Hšchtl (A), Sinisa Labrovic (HR), Angela Lubic (D), Susanne Pittroff (D) Sandra SchŠfer mit Elfe Brandenburger (D), Bianca Tschaikner (A)

This exhibition presents artistic approaches to resistance and obstacles on both a political and an individual level. Resistance can be met or mounted; obstacles can be confronted or created. The works exhibited deal with various fields and constellations in which barriers arise, addressing possibilities for overcoming them and reasons for their persistence. Social norms and structures are examined as potential obstacles, and participatory social practices as possible forms of resistance.

Obstacle protocols
What do we perceive as obstacles? Who creates them, and how do different people deal with them? Difficult situations, regulations, economic conditions, shortages, and ingrained behaviours can all present obstacles. Laws, socialisation, and religions set boundaries, sanction violations, and operate using a system of guilt that punishes transgression with exclusion. Differences of perspective and social status define the position that determines whether or not something or somebody is perceived as an obstacle. Education and socialisation also play an important role in recognizing, defining, and overcoming obstacles. What can be prevented or facilitated by government and economic systems, and how is the individual affected by obstacles resulting from political processes and socialisation?

Resistance protocols
Discontentment with existing conditions is the starting point for different forms of resistance which have an important corrective function in fomenting change or creating better living conditions within a democratic framework. The artistic practices presented in the exhibition deal with diverse aspects of barriers and the processes used to overcome them as well as with models of resistance to socio-political power and control, laws, neglect, rules of participation, regulations, grievances, and so on. It becomes clear that barriers can only seem to be coached to disappear, and resistance movements are continuously maligned until they become part of the mainstream.

Film screenings

26 November, 7 p.m.
Passing the Rainbow
The film by Sandra Schäfer and Elfe Brandenburger presents performative strategies aimed at undermining rigid gender norms in Afghan society. Possibilities for resistance are created on different levels of reality, in political activity, in everyday life, as well as in staged film scenes.

15 January, 7 p.m.
Experimental films from the GDR
Cornelia Klauß presents experimental films from the East German underground by Helge Leiberg, Gino Hahnemann, Cornelia Klauß, Ramona Köppl-Welsch, Cornelia Schleime, and Thomas Werner.
The films shot with simple Super 8 cameras depict, on the one hand, the limited opportunities for artistic practice in the GDR. But on the other, they underscore the abundance of improvisation that came about through resistance to the prescribed social rules and artistic conventions and to the official images of the GDR presented by the media.

Artist talk

3 December, 7 p.m.
Problem-solvers and fantasies of resistance
Silvia Beck (artist) in dialogue with Dani Stein (stuntwoman, stunt coordinator)
Moderation: Sabine Winkler (curator)
When are obstacles and resistance constructed to bring drama into both real-life and fictional processes? Does the booming field of professional coaching provide an example of problem-solving on a real level, and do stunt workers represent problem-solvers on a fictitious level? What is the relationship between fantasies of resistance and real resistance?