20 September 2020 – 15 November 2020
In Stuttgart and in more than twenty municipalities in Baden-Württemberg, an art festival devoted to the wide-ranging theme Places of Refuge – Under Observation. The Art of Withdrawal will take place from 25 September to 18 October 2020.
With Dries Depoorter, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Verena Friedrich, Esther Hovers,Gregor Kuschmirz, Marc Lee, TOAST, Alex Verhaest und Christiaan Zwanikken
Opening: Sunday, 20 September 2020, 11 am
With every click on the Internet, every use of a smartphone and each purchase, it is well-known that we leave behind traces and thereby make public much information about ourselves. In the so-called social media, private matters are often heedlessly revealed. Surveillance systems are being boosted by constantly improving technologies for data storage and facial recognition, bringing closer and closer the day of a seamless monitoring of citizens. This is already being demonstrated by pilot programs whose logical outcome consists of ‘social credit systems’ in which citizens act as accomplices to their own surveillance.
Nor should the possibilities offered by genetic manipulation be forgotten, with their interventions in the human body which do not have only positive aspects. So where do there still exist places of refuge where individuals can find shelter and the opportunity for self-assertion? Where are the retreats, reservations, idylls or oases to which we can withdraw, at least for a while, without being pressured by the media? Can sites devoted to art and culture fulfill this shielding, nurturing function?
With generous support from the ZukunftsStiftung Heinz Weiler and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
16 August 2020 – 15 November 2020
Hoël Duret – low
Start: Sunday, 16 August 2020, 11 am
With his exhibition entitled low, which is conceived as a Lichthof: inner courtyard / ??, Hoël Duret transforms the two-storied entrance hall of the Villa Merkel into a fantastical, breathing organism – into a sort of illusory landscape, the garden of a post-technological world. This setting is bordered by a succession of new works which are presented in the ground-floor rooms surrounding the entrance hall; these consist of videos, futuristic glass objects and sandblasted spirits. The latter give concrete form in the air to the thoughts of plants. For that reason, they are spirits: they surround us, but we cannot see them. Their shape is related to microscopic pictures and is simultaneously overlaid with a modernist aesthetic.
Hoël Duret’s artistic practice combines fictitious stories with real events. It arises out of the interplay among extremely diverse media. In a pictorial language based on science fiction, the New Age movement, post-apocalyptic cinema as well as the utopias of modernism, Hoël Duret investigates the relationships between nature and technology, especially against the background of ongoing digitalisation. He develops a critical, alternate image to the notion of the digital era as a coherent phase of human history and thereby makes it clear that such a concept can only be asserted at the price of masking diversity.
08 March – 12 July 2020
David Renggli: Bongos at the Lido
Opening: Sunday, 08 March 2020, 11 am
David Renggli’s oeuvre is permeated with humour, poetry as well as musicality and comes to expression in the form of sculptures, conceptual painting and complex multimedia presentations. In addition, there are appropriations of pictorial languages from both everyday life and the traditions of cultural history, with contributions from ancient sculpture as well as pictures from the tabloid press and fashion magazines. Renngli’s works are also based on his wide-ranging collection of vintage erotic publications which, alongside paraphrases of ideals of beauty, are likewise characterised by sophisticated and innovative graphic designs.
With a wry wink of the eyes, David Renggli directs an ironical gaze towards the cult of beauty, forms of self-optimisation and instances of narcissistic self-referentiality; he uses collages embellished with painting to integrate his comments and reflections into a comprehensive pictorial atlas. As a Neo-Dadaist, David Renggli is entirely devoted to the free play of art – and occasionally also of music.
With deep gratitude we thank the Swiss Art Council Pro Helvetia for its gracious support.
31 January – 23 February 2020
we grew some eyes
Master pupils of the Weißenhof Programme of the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart
Nina Joanna Bergold,Jochen Damian Fischer, Franziska Sophie Geissler, Johanna Mangold, Lisa Moll, Jonas Maria Ried, Vladimir Unkovic
Opening: Thursday, 30 January 2020, 7:00 pm
The graduates of the Weißenhof Programme of the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart are presenting their works in the Villa Merkel, Galerie der Stadt Esslingen, from 31 January to 23 February. Entitled we grew some eyes, the presentation brings together the multifaceted projects of Nina Joanna Bergold,Jochen Damian Fischer, Franziska Sophie Geissler, Johanna Mangold, Lisa Moll, Jonas Maria Ried and Vladimir Unkovic.
With their various positions, the seven master pupils offer a wide range of art extending from classical media such as photography and painting all the way to cross-media research projects, large-scale spatial installations and virtual reality. Historical facts, nature, interplay between genres such as music and painting, and also the artist’s individual dream world furnish the contents serving as a basis for these extremely diverse projects.