Organised by Shermin Langhoff, together with Çağla İlk, Erden Kosova and Antje Weitzel, the Berliner Herbstsalon aims to open up a space of association that intends to be an inspiration for the future programme of the theatre and the people of Berlin.
The Berliner Herbstsalon turns the historically charged area around the Maxim Gorki Theater into the temporary stage of an exhibition. On the occasion of this event the Maxim Gorki Theater has invited thirty artists to explore the past and present of its location. The buildings of the theatre, the Neue Wache and the Palais am Festungsgraben are historic sites that were crucial for the development of both their works, including many new commissions, the participating artists explore the meanings of this particular national identity, often while comparing and connecting it to the reality of other nations. Some of the works in the exhibition are site-specific investigations of the past of
the theatre building itself as well as its immediate surroundings. These pieces explore the enthusiasm and pathos that accompanied the idea of a new nation. The circumstance that modern nations have always defined themselves mainly in opposition to other countries led to the darkest chapters of modern history: the “others” were colonised, excluded or even wiped out entirely. In response artworks explore the traumatic effects of nationalism, contemporary experiences of migration and the difficult reality of marginalised social groups. The rhetoric of ideology and the iconography and other mechanisms of exclusion are common themes running through many of the
works in the exhibition. Other important issues are the urgent desire to criticise official politics of memory and to unpack the role of economic factors in the formation of national and supra-national structures.
The Berliner Herbstsalon brings together performances, installations and video works by international artists who are mostly based in Berlin. The result is an exhibition opening up multifaceted perspectives on socio-political notions such as identity and the nation state. While highlighting the artificiality of such constructions the show is ultimately also an expression of the multiple and international character of contemporary Berlin itself.
The Berliner Herbstsalon launches the new season with Shermin Langhoff and Jens Hillje as the new artistic directors of the Maxim Gorki Theater.