Thomas Demand & Udo Kittelmann: The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied.
Tuesday, January 16 2018, 7 pm, Aula
Thomas Demand and Udo Kittelmann will discuss their transmedia exhibition project, “The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied.”, that took place at the Fondazione Prada, Venice in spring 2017. The exhibition was the result of an ongoing, in-depth exchange between writer and filmmaker Alexander Kluge, artist Thomas Demand, stage and costume designer Anna Viebrock and curator Udo Kittelmann. The long process which led to the realization of this project was not only the result of discussions and exchanges between the authors involved in it, but also the outcome of a misunderstanding. The sharing of a reproduction of a painting by Angelo Morbelli Giorni… ultimi! (1883), generated in the three artists and in the curator different interpretations of its subject, which depicts a group of elderly destitute men within the Pio Albergo Trivulzio in Milan. More specifically, the portrayed individuals had been mistaken for retired sailors spending their old age at the hostel. This suggestion not only caused the marine metaphor in the exhibition title, inspired by Leonard Cohen’s song Everybody Knows (1988), but also the choice to devote a monographic room to Morbelli, hosting seven of his works.
Quoting William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar “Why, now blow wind, swell billow, and swim bark! The storm is up, and all is on the hazard”, Udo Kittelmann underlines how this collaboration generated out of a “shared awareness, both on an emotional and theoretical level, of the critical aspects of present times and the complexity of the world we live in”. In a dialogue of polyphonic references and constellations between the contributions of each artist, the exhibition spans film, art and theatre media. The confluence of image spaces and scene settings for a variety of atmospheres transforms the historic palazzo of Ca’ Corner della Regina into a metaphorical site for the identification of the worlds we live in and our personal attitudes towards them. The exhibition aims to provide comprehensive insight into the respective production of Alexander Kluge, Thomas Demand and Anna Viebrock, whose artistic endeavours have always extended beyond the aesthetic and imaginative, and were conceived with political and historical intentions. All three artists reveal themselves as pathfinders and clue seekers, witnesses and chroniclers of times past and present.
Out of this, an exhibition was generated, intended as a space for experiences and encounters. This visually powerful, multi-layered environment bestowed expression and meaning on the everyday and on the worlds of yesterday and today, between apparent normality and catastrophe, in a society divided between lust for life and loss of trust, extreme distress and never-ending hope.
Thomas Demand (*1964) is a German sculptor and photographer. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles, and teaches at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg. Udo Kittelmann (*1958) is the director of the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, with responsibility for the Alte Nationalgalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie and Hamburger Bahnhof, as well as the Berggruen Museum, the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg and the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche.