Father Figures Are Hard To Find

19 March–30 April 2016
Opening: 18 March 2016

Event Series

nGbK,Oranienstraße 25



Naama Arad, Timothy Archer, Sean Crossley, Sergio Cusmir, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Heike-Karin Föll, Juliana Huxtable, Lukas-Julius Keijser, Lea St. und Danh Vo, Michaela Meise, Aleksandra Mir, Konrad Mühe, Egle Otto, Antje Prust, Przemek Pyszczek, Ronald M. Schernikau, Bodo Schlack, Sarah Ancelle Schönfeld/Oskar Curter, Timo Seber


Lothar Baumgarten, Lily Benson/Cassandra Guan, Arielle Bier/Magnus Rosengarten, Sabeth Buchmann/Helmut Draxler/Susanne Leeb, Sadie Lune/Kay Garnellen/Mad Kate, Mysti, Aykan Safoğlu, Ronald M. Schernikau/Ellen Schernikau, Vanessa Sinclair und Melanie Jame Wolf

Project group

Alicia Agustín, Raoul Klooker, Markues, Tucké Royale, Vince Tillotson

The stars are aligned against the traditional image of fatherhood, as they are aligning against the patriarchal canon of the history of art itself. To help them along, this exhibition seeks new father figures, queer genealogies, and artistic appropriations of the fatherly prerogative, or whatever remains thereof. The artistic works presented here touch upon biological, disembodied, counter-canonical, digital and (above all) sexy facets of kinship that enable us to re-imagine our role models, and indeed, the human body itself.

“I will be your father figure I have had enough of crime, I will be the one who loves you till the end of time;” with these words George Michael has sought to soothe us in our anxieties since 1987. And despite these reassurances painful questions persist: what can a father figure be? What will become of our fathers? Of the “Our Father”? Of the Father-land? What personae in the history of art have been underestimated as possible mentors on account of not being white, male, and/or straight? How can the building blocks that make a father figure be cleaved from the body of the biological progenitor? What disembodied, digital, and affirmative genealogies can emerge from this?

A point of departure for this project is the assumption that only a precious few develop themselves in the absence authority or role models, relying exclusively on their own piecemeal subjectivity. Hence, we curators bid adieu – goodbye to the family as reproductive union; goodbye all ye fathers of modernity; goodbye to fatherhood as the exclusive reserve of heterosexual men. In their stead we look, paradoxically, down from below and look up from on high in search of father figures who offer us their elective affinities in symbolic and fluid ways.

The exhibition brings together works of art, relics of everyday life, potential new role models, performances, lectures, analyses, salons and liberation rituals daring to walk the fine line between acknowledging the desire to admire and revere our father figures, while simultaneously allowing us to cast them away altogether.


Sunday, 20 March, 19h
Performance “A Kiss For Daddy” by Melanie Jame Wolf
A Kiss For Daddy is a live performance and video work that seeks to audit the sweet and sour economy of the Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby relationship; its contracts, its agreements, its perils, and its pleasures. Drawing on a variety of biographical materials and destabilising popular mythologies, A Kiss For Daddy only wants to see you happy, baby.

Thursday, 24 March, 18h
Guided tour with Sean Crossley, Raoul Klooker and Markues (en)

Sunday, 27 March, 19h
Lecture Performance „DA DA DADDY HASSELHOFF“ by Mysti (en)
Mysti combines a critique of psychoanalysis and identitarian self-discovery attempts with Dadaistic poetry. The flexibility of the father figure is illustrated with reference to a curious male idol of the Germans: David Hasselhoff.

Thursday, 31 March, 18h
Guided tour with Sarah Ancelle Schönfeld and Alicia Agustín

Sunday, 3 April, 19h
Reading Ellen Schernikau reads Ronald M. Schernikau

Thursday, 7 April, 18h
Guided tour with Heike-Karin Föll and Markues

Thursday, 7. April, 19h, Event Space, 1st floor
Film „Ursprung der Nacht“ by Lothar Baumgarten, BRD 1973/77, 102min
(no dialogues)

Sunday, 10 April, 19h, Event Space, 1st floor
Lecture Performance „Kanonparanoia“ with Sabeth Buchmann, Helmut Draxler and Susanne Leeb

Sunday, 17 April, 17h, Event Space, 1st floor
Videoinstallation „Untitled (Gülşen and Hüseyin)“ by Aykan Safoğlu, 2015, 13.10min, loop
Aykan Safoğlu has his deceased uncle rise from the dead in a drag reenactment. The film bears witness to the tough reality of life and social isolation of Turkish guest workers and simultaneously addresses the rise of neo-fascist movements in present-day Turkey.
(turk. | en sub.)

Sunday, 17 April, 18h
Guided tour with Aykan Safoğlu and Raoul Klooker

Sunday, 17 April, 20h, Event Space, 1st floor
Film “The Filmballad of Mamadada” by Lily Benson and Cassandra Guan, USA 2013, 80min
For this film, 50 New York artists were invited to interpret specific biographical fragments on the life of the artist and Dada theorist Elsa von Freytag Lohringhoven. She was a close friend of Marcel Duchamp and there are many indications that she actually invented the ready-made. She can therefore replace Duchamp as the father of contemporary art.

Sunday, 24 April, 19h
Performance “WOMB Δ mamapapadada Δ HOME a performance by the crazy family” by Sadie Lune, KAy Garnellen and Mad Kate

Thursday, 28 April, 18h, Event Space, 1st floor
Lecture “Cutting Up the Image of the Father/ Reconstructing the Third” by Vanessa Sinclair
The lecture deconstructs the category of the father in the history of psychoanalysis and makes reference to works in the exhibition.

Saturday, 30 April, 19h
Finissage with Ritual-Performance “Antepapatory/THE END” by Alicia Agustín
(de | en)