Alfredo Jaar. Rosa, Karl, Bertolt, Herbert and the others
September 14, 2017 – August 31, 2018
Curator: Michaela Richter
Every year Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) invites contemporary artists to realize projects on the façade of its building on Chausseestrasse, and thus change the view on the urban space. Working in public space is deeply rooted in the practice of Alfredo Jaar, who since the beginning of his career creates political works that attract attention. His series of graphical diagrams conceived for the façade of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), entitled Rosa, Karl, Bertolt, Herbert and the others (2017), is an homage to Harun Farocki and his critical view on social conditions, while at the same time it addresses the varied history of Chausseestrasse. As one of the oldest streets in Berlin, it represents a major center of production and business since the 19th century, being the home to a variety of industries throughout history. From 1961 to 1990, the street was divided by the Berlin Wall and marked by a checkpoint. Eight years before the building of the Wall, this border crossing was one of the hot spots of the uprising of 17 June 1953, when about 10,000 striking steel workers were on the march there.
Alfredo Jaar picks up outstanding historical moments such as this and refers to them in his new work, which at the same time names four intellectuals whose thinking deeply influenced Harun Farocki’s work (Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Bertolt Brecht und Herbert Marcuse)—and in whose biography Chausseestrasse played a role. Fascinated by how many of Harun Farocki’s topics—working worlds and their transformation, domination techniques, the power of the visual and possibilities of opposition—coalesce in the history of Chausseestrasse, Alfredo Jaar has conceived a work that invites viewers to decipher and reflect it.
Alfredo Jaar (b. 1956 in Santiago de Chile) lives and works in New York. His works have been shown in numerous exhibitions and major projects worldwide, incl. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2016); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2015); Times Square, New York (2014); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2014); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013). In 2012, three Berlin institutions (Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlinische Galerie, and Alte Nationalgalerie) presented a retrospective of Jaar’s oeuvre. His works have been repeatedly shown at the biennials in Venice (2013; 2009; 2007; 1986) and São Paulo (2010; 1989; 1987). Furthermore, Jaar is a two-time participant of documenta (1987; 2002).