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tracing echoes

01.11. - 10.11.19

Sonia Freida Knop, José Montealegre and Esteban Sánchez
Curated by
Tarika Johar, Sarah Müller and Seda Pesen

"There are no events, that palpably point to the future, no matter how much light they might shed on the past." (Hannah Arendt, vita activa, 1958)

How does the past manifest itself in the present? How do stories form out of it? Memories and stories of days gone by create echoes in the spaces of our present. Wrapped up in our archives, embedded in our monuments and cultural symbols or recalled by a splintered tile, the past reveals itself in new ways. How do we deal with the past today? What relationship to the past is characteristic of our time? Our present can be described by the simultaneous coexistence of different times, contexts and moments. We constantly enrich the present with stories that can be switched on and off at the push of a button, they originate from thousands and thousands of situations. What consequences does this have for our dealings with the past? What are possible perspectives for the future?

In her filmic work Mood (2019), the artist Sonia Freida Knop deals with the Colonial Image Archive at the University Library J.C. Senckenberg in Frankfurt am Main. Her film relates two local memories from global and German colonial times - the Colonial Image Archive and the Palmengarten - to one another. It shows how the blurred past often protrudes into the present and echoes in the present. At the same time, Sonia Freida Knop's work poses the question of the extent to which human interpretation can intervene in the fundamental momentum of time.

In the work
by the artist Esteban Sánchez, the presence of the past in omnipresence is thematized. Photographic images of the so-called "ciudad blanca" - the white city - in Colombia show how "modernity" was induced there and became a surface of expression for complex, transcontinental entanglements. In fffriedrich, they serve as templates to expose the interior of the walls. In combination with a space-filling installation of gabions and potatoes, traces and remains of cultural historical and ideological imprints become visible in everyday life.

In the pieces Empire (2019) and skin graft (2019) by the artist José Montealegre, traces from ancient contexts join to general relics of time. In poetic imagery, he creates a plastic expression for tracing and preserving days that have already passed. At the same time, skin graft (2019) in particular proposes a future scenario in which the human being is no longer the centre of temporal and geological events: What comes after - what remains?

Photography © Seda Pesen