14 June 2020 – 15 November 2020
Hoël Duret – low
Opening: Sunday, 14 June 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.
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?
16 May 2021 – 1 August 2021
Api étoilé – A Growing Archive
Start of research: 1 April 2020
Opening: Sunday, 16 May 2021, 11 am
Api étoilé – A Growing Archive focuses on agricultural crops. From one continent to another, seeds and field reports are collected with respect to their cultivation. After several months of travel and research, the seeds will be handed over to interested hobby gardeners for the purpose of growing a year’s worth of plants. In the following year, they will be displayed as yearlings in the inner courtyard of the Villa Merkel along with drawings, watercolours and video-works. They constitute an opulent, initial kitchen garden of a new type which, as if arising casually, offers a contrast to the park which surrounds the Villa Merkel and, with its anthropomorphic reshaping of nature, is designed according to the ideal of English landscape gardens. After the plants of this kitchen garden have produced new seeds in turn, these will be added to the growing archive by the gardeners participating in the project.
In this way the archive constantly grows and will be continued in an expanded form past the two-year pilot phase. Experience and knowledge are successively added on highly diverse levels.
Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt – Förderung von künstlerischen und kulturellen Projekten