Espace Apollonia, March-May 2017
Within the framework of E.CITY – BERLIN
Artists : Stephen Wilks / Daniel Seiple / Stefanie Bürkle / KUNSTrePUBLIK
Clinging on the back of Zeus transformed into a bull, the young Princess Europa crossed the Mediterranean and launched into the unknown. After her peregrinations she was welcomed by the Cretans and prospered on their island. Her voyage, to the ‘other’, to what is ‘different’, can be seen as allegory of Europe itself.
Mythology symbolizes and prefigures the foundation of this continent. Its roots are fed by the mobility of the peoples, by the encounters and cultural exchanges between various populations. Europe has been marked by permanent migrations but also by taking in people and ideas as well as cultural confrontations.
Even though it is a quite singular city, Berlin, like so many other European cities, has been built and develops by multiple migrations, by new populations moving in over the centuries.
Berlin is also the theatre of numerous sociological mutations* whose evolution opens up enormous urban and citizen projects. The city has in recent times welcomed in several thousand refugees and migrants – one of the greatest challenges facing the present-day building of Europe.
e.city, our cycle of events highlighting the artistic approaches of different European cities, is focusing this time on the specificity of the contemporary creativity of artists living in Berlin.
“Philoxenia” is the title of an event grouping artists who represent the plurality and cosmopolitan character of Berlin and illustrates the city’s creative and dynamic ferment.
Set out in two stages, the works of Stephen Wilks, Daniel Seiple, Stefanie Bürkle and the KUNSTrePUBLIK collective, illustrate the tensions and interrogations of a society undergoing an upheaval in the face of massive incoming migration and its integration. More than being a static and traditional exhibition, this event aims to open up the meaning of the work displayed through the participation and involvement of the public.
In this way, in spite of its fragility, Stephen Wilks’ porcelain work, Table-City, is enlivened thanks to discussions between guests at a dinner. Several hundred ceramic bottles of mineral water, created in unique and individual forms, complete the scene as a reminder of the on-going drama on the European banks of the Mediterranean.
A similar preoccupation is witnessed by the artist, Daniel Seiple, who in the course of a performance is to launch his boat, Making Waves, built with Syrian refugees, into a long river journey from Berlin to Strasbourg in April. The trip will be transmitted live via the social media and in the Apollonia space.
Daniel Seiple suggested an international workshop aiming to the construction of a boat for and by refugees under the name of Making Waves.
This artistic proposal will take shape in many forms, as a workshop, boat voyage, film and exhibition. Artworks will include the motorboat, preliminary sketches, models, interviews and other artefacts. After the exhibition, the fate of the boat will be posed as a question to the group – whether to sell, donate, or maintain it for further exploration or other artistic purposes.
Our space will further house an important installation by the artist Stefanie Bürkle, entitled Migrating Spaces, a work based on four years of university and artistic research on the influences of migration on urban areas. By delving into the phenomenon of Turkish re-migration, Stefanie Bürkle demonstrates through pictures and testimonies how much inter-cultural relations modify the image and structure of a city.
The artist, along with her team and students from the Institute for Architecture at TU Berlin, has catalogued and documented 132 cases of houses and apartments built or renovated by migrants returning to Turkey, interviewed the protagonists, established the typologies. The result of the research took the shape of a book, photographs, testimonies…
VVESTLife by KUNSTrePUBLIK
Furthermore, in a second phase, and in Apollonia’s garden, a few cables’ length from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, an over 7-metre high tent, entirely made of migrants’ lifejackets collected by the KUNSTrePUBLIK artists collective on the island of Lesbos, will be set up. The tent will evolve into an alternative parliament housing frequent citizen debates.
A whole array of committed works and perspectives by artists on our times and our society!