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At Haus der Kunst, in Munich, the Frieze Artist Award winner Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978 in Hamilton, Canada; lives and works in Paris) has created the project “Plot”, an exhibition staged across three theatrical “acts”.

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The first act occupies the museum’s famous Middle Hall, an installation with inflatable sculptures containing both objects and livingplantsand a series of large, dynamic paintings on semi-transparent curtains; the second act will take place in the near future (December probably), bringing inside the space of the museum the natural belvedere of the Victorian Era Gardens that surrounds the building; finally, the third act will involve both the interior and the exterior of the building, speaking to the prehistoric architecture of the Haus der Kunst. 

 

Kapwani Kiwanga, 'Plot', installation view, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2020. Courtesy: the artist and Haus der Kunst,
Munich; photograph: Jens Weber.

 

Plot” will not open presumably until November 30, 2020, in accordance with general pandemic restrictions, but Haus de Kunst’s Youtube channel offers videos on the exhibition and some “behind the scenes” podcasts to stretch our view.  

In the frame of the seventh edition of the series "DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT - VONDEN FREUNDEN HAUS DER KUNST”, which radically transforms visitors' perception and experience of the museum's Middle Hall, “Plot” poses the question of what it really means to “be public”, to open up, to change and be modified in the current moment. From here on, how people will be interacting, move and experience both the interior and exterior space? What’s coming next?

 

Kapwani Kiwanga, 'Plot', installation view, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2020. Courtesy: the artist and Haus der Kunst,
Munich; photograph: Jens Weber.

 

“Around every corner there is a sense of surprise”, the curator Damian Lentini says. The romantic, sublime painting, applied in airbrush into a larger scale, takes inspiration from natural color gradients. Through many layers and drying of greens, orange, blue and violet tones, the idea is that an artwork can shift, alter, shrink and expand, really reflecting the stratigraphic times we are immersed. A monument can be less rigid than red marble, but fluid as water, flexible as a willow, soft as silk. The transparency, discursivity and porosity of walls, which are not only solid barriers between the inside and the outside, but tableaux - in the case of the landscape of “Plot” - that don’t fight the space and split in different temporalities (morning, midday, evening) and seasons. Porosity to Kapwani Kiwanga is quite interesting because “it acknowledges the structures which can divide and be hierarchical, or asymmetrical in its power distribution”. Porosity can go beyond and evolve.

 

Kapwani Kiwanga, 'Plot', installation view, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2020. Courtesy: the artist and Haus der Kunst,
Munich; Photo: Marion Vogel.

 

A student of Anthropology and Comparative Religion at McGill University in Montreal - before undertaking the “La Seine” programme at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris- Kapwani Kiwanga uses, in her work, powerful tools, creating spaces of care or exit strategies, even “aliens” - like the technology of hermetic, portable terrariums which allows plants to survive in polluted cities. Nominated for this year’s Prix Marcel Duchamp (France), Kapwani Kiwanga always thinks about the social-political place she is standing in, to make new ways forward, a potential of new growth, a point of escape in the terror of the unknown future. “La petite semence commençait à germer” (The small seed began to germinate) and there will never be a conclusion - as with the “Plot” show. 

 

 

Kapwani Kiwanga, 'Plot', installation view, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2020. Courtesy: the artist and Haus der Kunst,
Munich; photograph: Jens Weber.

 

Cover image: Kapwani Kiwanga,Untitled. A Study,2020, Digital collage, ©the artist

Written by Petra Chiodi

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