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in awe

Daphne Ahlers, Never Let Jealousy Threaten Female Bonds, 2017

in awe
Opening: September 13, 2017, 7 pm
including performances by Lonely Boys and Michele Di Menna

Exhibition: September 14 - October 25, 2017

In earlier usage the expression being in awe referred to a state distinguished by a rather transcendental, supernatural experience: a reverence for an other-worldly entity that spontaneously seizes one, intervenes in perception and/or the real circumstances, and perhaps fundamentally changes them forever. In this sense, it was a state firmly marked with religious significance. In the meanwhile, the word awe has undergone an etymological transformation, culminating in a tentative end manifestation with the ubiquitous, new word creation uttered thousands of times per day: awesome.
The funny thing is that many Europeans cannot even pronounce awe properly – while awesome isn’t a problem. Awe remains secretive, singular, and encrypted for us in communication. Awesome, on the other hand, can be anything that one wants to highlight or point out in the presence of others. It has become a platitude.
The main idea behind the exhibition in awe is simple: With many artists there was a moment when I was in awe – or better put, in admiration – of a work, the oeuvre, or an experience with the person. For me, being in awe means a moment of appreciation that you feel with your complete body and is inevitably inscribed into your memory. It is natural, even though the moment is so special and lasting, so highly subjective – although irrelevant perhaps when seen from an outside perspective. Albeit, this faculty of feeling seems to represent a broad foundation for how one chooses. Hence, the exhibition in awe also investigates the basis underlying group exhibitions. There is naturally the “thematic group exhibition”, where artistic works are typically selected when their contents correspond with or at least touch upon the specific theme; then there is the group exhibition based on a “community”. 
In the exhibition in awe these questions are cast into the background – in the fore is the presentation of a choice that one makes in this moment, with full awareness of the economic and conceptual incompleteness that this choice involves at the same time.

Daphne Ahlers, Olga Balema, Jana Euler, Morgan Fisher, Josefin Granqvist, Elisabeth Greinecker, Lena Henke, Laura Hinrichsmeyer, Anna Holtz, Lisa Holzer, Nina Könnemann, Anita Leisz, Michele di Menna, Cecilie Nørgaard, Rosa Rendl, Ulla Rossek, Lilli Thießen, Jan Vorisek, Nicole Wermers

Curated by Melanie Ohnemus 


Kunsthalle Exnergasse
Entrance 2, 1st floor