TIES, TALES AND TRACES. Dedicated to Frank Wagner, Independent Curator

9 February–5 May 2019
Opening: 8 February 2019


An exhibition by KW Institute for Contemporary Art, curated by RealismusStudio of nGbK in cooperation with Between Bridges.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin



Leonie Baumann, Dr. Beatrice von Bismarck, Monica Bonvicini, Dr. Julia Friedrich, Beate Geissler, Claire Grace, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Lyle Ashton Harris, Dr. Martin Heller, Çağla Ilk, Peter Knoch, Léon Kruijswijk, Shambhu Leroux, Egidio Marzona, Cathrin Mayer, Bjørn Melhus, Detlev Pusch, Dr. Peter Rehberg, Michaela Richter, Eran Schaerf, Pola Sieverding, Ingo Taubhorn, Wolfgang Tillmans, Dr. Ingrid Wagner, Claudia Wahjudi

Project group RealismusStudio

Christin Lahr, Isabelle Meiffert, Ulrike Riebel, Vincent Schier, Susanne Weiß

The exhibition TIES, TALES AND TRACES commemorates the work of curator Frank Wagner, who died in 2016. Wagner gained a reputation for his groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed exhibitions on critical art, AIDS, gender, and LGBTQI* topics. Wagner, who described himself as Independent Curator, often brought artists to Berlin before their international breakthrough and supported the realization of their projects with remarkable commitment. With the exhibition David Wojnarowicz – Ein Gedenkraum / A Memorial Exhibition at KW in 1992/93, Wagner commemorated the oeuvre of David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992 and whose work he exhibited multiple times. Through his cross-institutional projects and his negotiating skills, Wagner was a respected and tireless agent of the Berlin art and cultural scene, succeeding in promoting and connecting protagonists with the most disparate approaches. His independent, project-based activities allowed him to remain flexible as a curator, but also brought him a life of financial uncertainty. Nevertheless, Frank Wagner succeeded in resolutely pursuing his political examination of social relations, everyday violence, racism, colonialism, fascism, homophobia, and marginalized sexuality with sensitive radicalism. Through art and his own experimental curatorial approach, he provoked uncomfortable conversations and tried to address people beyond the art world. He took on a pioneering role with early exhibitions on political discourses of the body, gender issues, sexuality, and AIDS, giving new dimensions to the politicization of the private sphere.

The exhibition at KW is primarily based on art works and documents from the estate of Frank Wagner. It commemorates his curatorial work in a broader context while giving an insight into his complex work.

The complementary exhibition at the project space Between Bridges (1 February – 16 March 2019) will be curated by Wolfgang Tillmans and Eugen Ivan Bergmann.
Opening: 1 February 2019

Public Programm

Curators’ tour with Christin Lahr and Vincent Schier:

17 February 2019, 15:00
28 February 2019, 19:00
11 April 2019, 19:00
28 April 2019, 15:00

Guided tours with former companions:

3 March 2019, 15:00
with Michaela Richter (Head of Communication and Art Education n.b.k, Curator)

14 March 2019, 19:00
with Léon Kruijswijk (Curatorial Fellow KW, Freelance Curator)

17 March 2019, 15:00
with Isabelle Meiffert (Curator and Writer)

28 March 2019, 19:00
with Detlev Pusch (Book Editor)

31 March 2019, 15:00
with Çağla Ilk (Architect, Curator Maxim Gorki Theater)

14 April 2019, 15:00
with Susanne Weiß (Curator and Art Education)

25 April 2019, 19:00
with Ingo Taubhorn (Curator, Haus der Photografie, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg)

5 May 2019
with Christin Lahr (Curator, RealismusStudio of nGbK)
with Beate Geissler (Artist)

23 February 2019, 13:00-19:00

with Leonie Baumann, Monica Bonvicini, Pola Sieverding, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ingrid Wagner, Claudia Wahjudi, and others
Venue: KW Studio

13 April 2019, 14:00-19:00
WAS BLEIBT? / WHAT REMAINS…? How to approach a curatorial legacy and estate?

with Beatrice von Bismarck, Claire Grace, Dr. Martin Heller, Egidio Marzona, Dr. Peter Rehberg, and others
Venue: KW Studio

4 May 2019, 14:00-19:00

with Dr. Julia Friedrich, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Lyle Ashton Harris, Peter Knoch, Christin Lahr, Cathrin Mayer, Bjørn Melhus, and Eran Schaerf
Venue: KW Studio

4 May 2019, 19:00
TIES, TALES AND TRACES. Dedicated to Frank Wagner
by Shambhu Leroux, Singer, Berlin Queen of the Underworld
followed by Chats, Drinks & MUSIK / SPUREN with music of the exhibition Das Achte Feld, selected by Thomas Meinecke and Frank Wagner
Venue: Café Bravo

5 May 2019, 17:00-19:00
CHATS & DRINKS at Stonewall-Inn with Peter Knoch
Venue: KW Studio