Press Release

“[...] Look here, underneath this black marble

Is buried a child who would have come to the blackboard

From nature if he had one more breath of life

He was killed in the class on Government”

Ece Ayhan, “Monument of the Unknown Student” State and Nature (1973)



International exhibitions

International Archives 2nd half of 2021

State and Nature

Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (Germany)

17.07 - 31.08.2021




State and Nature, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (Germany)

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2021. All Rights Reserved

State and Nature is the first major exhibition presented by the team with the new direction by Çağla İlk And Misal Adnan Yıldız at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. The exhibition departs from the Kunsthalle’s location and history in the dynamic urban fabric of the city between representation and reconstruction. Situated in the tapering city park of Lichtentaler Allee, the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, as a state- run institution, is an ideal place for enquiry into the changing relationship between the state and nature -two entities which have a massive impact on human lives. The exhibition is thus also a critical reflection on the heritage and reception of the Kunsthalle in relation to the surrounding nature and an attempt to re-evaluate policies of representation, attributions of the self and others, and social and economic infrastructures.

Inspired by Ece Ayhan’s anthology of poems Devlet ve Tabiat [State and Nature] (1973), particularly the above quoted lines from “Monument of the Unknown Student,” the eponymous exhibition deals with transitions in the relationships between these two entities. In his work, the state appears not as the force ordering the chaos of nature but as an unpredictable energy, which people are at the mercy of; nature, on the other hand, appears as the utopia of lost reason. This political reading of nature and state also characterises the exhibition. In particular, the newly commissioned art works and collaborations generated for State and Nature provide an open framework for revisiting these two concepts. The works call for a new perspective on historical developments of state, citizenship, and social order, point to limited worldly resources, and ask genealogical questions about human presence on earth.

State and Nature defines itself through the following formats besides the exhibition. As Preludes, new works that are designed to be experienced by the audience open-air by Yael Bartana, Jan St. Werner, Sunette L. Viljoen and Egemen Demirci and DAF (Dynamic Acoustic Research) refer to different sensual and medial processes such as photography, sculpture, and sound installation, playfully setting subversive accents and contrasts in the surroundings of the Kunsthalle. As Off-sites (24/7) lens-based works by Sina Ataeian Dena, Regina JoséGalindo and Cengiz Tekin are located on an pedestrian map, which frames global climate crisis, our connections with nature and also current urban structures through observing the closing of many shops and different scale initiatives due to pandemie conditions. Synch will now be a new space at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden dedicated to collections, collectives, and creative ideas beyond the temporary exhibitions. State and Nature will be expanded through performances with Black Cracker, Alexandra Pirici, Denise Ferreira da Silva among others in September and October.

With Andreas Achenbach, Sina Ataeian Dena, Khaled Barakeh, Yael Bartana, Mehtap Baydu, Alfredo Ceibal, Mahmut Celayir, DAF (Dynamische Akustische Forschung), Simone Demandt, Egemen Demirci & Sunette L. Viljoen, Simon Denny, Silvina Der Meguerditchian, Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani, Regina JoséGalindo, Anike Joyce Sadiq, Stelios Kallinikou, Henrik Olesen, Alexandra Pirici, Agnieszka Polska, Jimmy Robert, Robodynamische Diffusion: RDD (Michael Akstaller, Nele Jäer, Oliver Mayer, Jan St. Werner), Gabriel Rossell Santillá, Neda Saeedi, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Cengiz Tekin, Anton Vidokle, Jan St. Werner.

State and Nature is co-curated by the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden team; Hendrik Büdge, Benedikt Seerieder and Alessa Karešin. The Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is an institution of the State of Baden-Wüttemberg under the auspices of the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden-Wüttemberg, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. The production of new works is funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation).

Yael Bartana,  Days of Awe, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Yael Bartana,  Days of Awe, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition 17 July - 31 August 2021. Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Lichtentaler Allee 8a - 76530 Baden-Baden (Germany). T +49 7221 30076400. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm.