Redemption Jokes

16 September–15 November 2015
Opening: 15 September 2015

Exhibition
Publication
Event Series

Location(s): nGbK, Oranienstraße 25

Artists

Oreet Ashery, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Dolanbay, Amit Epstein, Grit Hachmeister & Claudia Gülzow, Wilhelm Klotzek, Donna Kukama, Bjørn Melhus, Liam O’Callaghan, Falke Pisano, Studio Spektral

Project group Büro für widersprüchliche Beziehungen

Anna Bromley, Michael Fesca, Suza Husse, Teena Lange, Jana Sotzko

There is one great misunderstanding. We like to think that a deep, profound analysis requires being very serious. Humor is considered to be its very opposite, revealing the superficial side of things. And especially humor that leads to laughter, this most visible expression of happiness, is thought to annihilate any importance…
[An Paenhuysen, Berlin Art Week magazine, 2015]

REDEMPTION JOKES explores the connection between humour and critique in contemporary art. With a view to their aesthetic grammars and social contexts, the project presents artistic forms of subversive wit. Directed against patriarchal seriousness, humour is also used to confront cultural phobias. Inspired by queer-feminist and anti-colonial practices, the project features artistic approaches that probe ambivalent laughter at social and political relations and cause interpretations and power relations to stutter.

The exhibition design leads the visitors into an office carpet landscape under whose extensions the rubble of previous structures resists right angles. In this “belly of the beast” – the neoliberal present – in which, according to Santiago Lopez Petit, our striving for (political) change is trapped, the liberating effect of the works shown as Redemption Jokes lies in their deliberate absurdity. In breaking with norms, in dysfunctional actions and in the derailment of communication, the joke unfolds its potential of changing the relationship between those present.

In March 2015, the research and test phase of the project was presented in the Bureau for Paradoxical Relations in the gallery of the nGbK.
In September, the publication JOKEBOOK (German/English) featuring the results of the encounters, performances and research will appear in conjunction with the exhibition. [ISBN: 978-3-938515-60-0, Publisher: nGbK. With picture and text contributions by: Oreet Ashery, Paola Bonino, Preciosa De Joya, Jonas Engelmann, Amit Epstein, Elisabeth Fritz, Christopher Kline, Wilhelm Klotzek, Eve Massacre, Gin Müller, Monika Rinck, Isabel de Sena, Oxana Timofeeva, as well as the Bureau team: Anna Bromley, Michael Fesca, Suza Husse, Teena Lange and Jana Sotzko]

Events:

Dienstag 15 September 2015, 18h,
Opening & performances: Dolanbay, Studio Spektral…

18–22h “Negating Blank Part 2” by Dolanbay
21h “Process of Disappearing” by Studio Spektral
From 21.30h DJ Set: Studio Spektral & special guest Kurt Ernst
In the courtyard

Samstag 19 September 2015, 13h,
Guided tour by the curators

Admision free

According to Grada Kilomba, an evening at the pub, where music by Bob Marley is played all night long, is a good lesson in anticolonial thinking, feeling and action. On the next morning, we are haunted by the 1980s earworm Redemption Songs, the lyrics of which cite a Marcus Garvey speech from 1937 calling for radical (self-)liberation from mental manipulations.

The exhibition and the accompanying publication examine the joke – usually understood as an outlet – in regard to its potentials of self-liberating radicality. Can the often invoked, more passive comic relief be transformed into proactive redemption joking? Can a resistant practice thus be induced by laughter?

The team of curators gives insights into the two-part exhibition concept and presents the artistic positions.

Sonntag 27 September 2015, 15h,
Book presentation: Jokebook
Reading by the authors and the Bureau for Paradoxical Relations

In March 2015, the research and test phase of the project was presented in the “Bureau for Paradoxical Relations” in the gallery of the nGbK. In September, the publication JOKEBOOK (German/English) featuring the results of the encounters, performances and research will appear in conjunction with the exhibition.
ISBN: 978-3-938515-60-0
Publisher: nGbK
With picture and text contributions by: Oreet Ashery, Paola Bonino, Preciosa De Joya, Jonas Engelmann, Amit Epstein, Elisabeth Fritz, Christopher Kline, Wilhelm Klotzek, Eve Massacre, Gin Müller, Monika Rinck, Isabel de Sena, Oxana Timofeeva, as well as the Bureau team: Anna Bromley, Michael Fesca, Suza Husse, Teena Lange and Jana Sotzko

Samstag 10 Oktober 2015, 15h,
Tour with Wilhelm Klotzek

By updating the concept of ‘social sculpture’, Wilhelm Klotzek processes the legacies of the GDR and the reception of the post-reunification history. In sculptures, videos, radio plays, artist’s books and installations he creates semantic ambivalences that appear in dysfunctional objects and absurd, brutally poetic gatherings. For Redemption Jokes a new installation has been created, a kind of pOst-Western picture puzzle that unfolds around two protagonists: A cat that shouts at a constellation of jars, and an exhausted grocery-bag-stick-figure leaning crinkly against a wall full of promotional stickers from the Nineties. Connected are the scenarios by a group of flies spinning circles around the Mausoleum of everyday life, their engines buzz next to the sticker-like desire of yesterday.

Sonntag 15 November 2015, From 15h,
Performances

15h Tour with Wilhelm Klotzek
By updating the concept of ‘social sculpture’, Wilhelm Klotzek processes the legacies of the GDR and the reception of the post-reunification history. In sculptures, videos, radio plays, artist’s books and installations he creates semantic ambivalences that appear in dysfunctional objects and absurd, brutally poetic gatherings. For Redemption Jokes a new installation has been created, a kind of pOst-Western picture puzzle that unfolds around two protagonists: A cat that shouts at a constellation of jars, and an exhausted grocery-bag-stick-figure leaning crinkly against a wall full of promotional stickers from the Nineties. Connected are the scenarios by a group of flies spinning circles around the Mausoleum of everyday life, their engines buzz next to the sticker-like desire of yesterday.

17h To Be Announced by Donna Kukuma
According to Donna Kukama, her practice is often connected to the notion of “poetic disturbances”, a term used as titles by Robert Duncan in the 1970s for his ambiguous language games. The folly succeeds in these poems by taking idioms literally, it also evokes Kukama by involving participants of her performances as allies, co-protagonists and witnesses in fantastic “what-if” games – who test alternatives to the current and historical production of norms. In 2013 she founded the sales agency The Air-State Urgency, which provides (real) clouds for (real) sums of money to (new) holders. On the occasion of REDEMPTION JOKES she developed the performance To Be Announced.

18.30h Last dance

Supported by

In cooperation with