Reality Bites: Making Avant-Garde Art in Post-Wall Germany
Edited by Sabine Eckmann. Text by Diedrich Diederichsen, Sabine Eckmann, Beate Kemfert, Gertrud Koch, Lutz Koepnick, Iain Whyte.
The Berlin Wall fell almost 20 years ago, and since then a generation of artists has come of age in reunified Germany. Reality Bites investigates the effect of that historical context, identifying the new kinds of work that have grown out of it, full of strategies and materials borrowed from and referring back to one kind of recent German reality or another, aesthetic exploration of experience in which the themes of reality and history take on increased meaning. This representative selection of about 70 pieces created since 1989 includes work from Franz Ackermann, Kutlug Ataman, Sophie Calle, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Sabine Hornig, Christian Jankowski, André Korpys, Markus Löffler, Via Lewandowsky, rude_architecture, Gregor Schneider, Collier Schorr, Wolfgang Tillmans. Among those less known to U.S. audiences are Cosima von Bonin, born in Kenya, who plays curator, critic, DJ and producer in the course of her sometimes risqué work; Rudolf Herz, whose Lenin on tour put busts of the great leader on the back of a flatbed and took them on the road; and Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, whose "Places of Remembrance," in Berlin's Bavarian Quarter and "Bus Stop," Holocaust Memorial project build the city's history into its streetscape.