»Horizons« – a new form of exhibition series

Horizons is a new exhibition series at Akademie Schloss Solitude which provides unique insights into the work of artists: Visitors witness the creative processes used in the fellows’ various artistic productions. And the artists even allow us to look over their shoulders as they get busy in their studios.

by Karolina Kaltschnee — Jan 27, 2022

In the first exhibition in the Horizons series, which opened on December 9th, 2021, artists from Eastern and Central European countries reveal glimpses of the creative processes behind their artistic endeavors in real time, prior to completion.

The exhibition seeks to push boundaries and enable visitors to expand and alter their perspectives, forming a collaborative network that transcends regimes, conventions and national borders. Akademie Schloss Solitude’s artist-in-residence program has a long tradition: cross-border cooperation has existed since 1990. This is because art invariably succeeds in bridging gaps and divisions present within political systems – acting, as it does, as a means to rethink these very dynamics and constellations.

Akademie Schloss Solitude - »Horizons« – a new form of exhibition series

Exhibition view »Horizons«, photo: Frank Kleinbach

The exhibition, which is curated by Gloria Aino Grzywatz, features works by Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, András Blazsek, Krasimira Butseva, Barbara Gryka, Luana Lojić, Jasmina Hanf and Karolina Kaltschnee. Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia: The countries of Eastern and Central Europe are represented in the Akademie’s spaces through the work of the fellows, thus offering a very intimate glimpse – firstly into the methods and perspective of the exhibitors – and secondly into these countries. The countries of origin are not always the artworks’ starting point, and yet the connection to the Central and Eastern European countries resonates in each of the works on display.

Thus András Blaszek’s work takes us to Slovakia, where a large part of the natural landscape around the Danube River is concealed beneath an architectural environment. The Gabčíkovo Dam changed the landscape and natural borders along with it, split villages and transformed the social and ecological life in this area. He shows this irreversible transformation through his experimental art, taking data as a basis and visualizing this using blending technologies including photogrammetry, 3D design and glass and light protection.

Not only the boundaries crossed by this exhibition are special at Akademie Schloss Solitude: The insights gained into the creative process are too. The eight artists reveal their progress in terms of their research, work and development as artists in an exhibition which showcases six different artistic installations.

Luana Lojić specializes in (experimental) media. She allows visitors to enter her workspace, where she demonstrates her approach to nature: Sounds of fortune-telling birds, tastes of dirt from other planets and textual senses. Nature and digitalism, human beings and an invisible sphere: Luana Lojić pushes boundaries – also by showing how. Transcending boundaries between exhibition visitor and artistic creator constitutes an unusual insight into the work of an artist.

The performance Thai Blossoms by Polish artist Barbara Gryka addresses the theme of Polish identity, from the repressive treatment of women and their right to govern their own bodies to the differences between city and countryside and changes within Polish society. This happens in performances that she creates on location in Poland, in her place of residence Lublin or in Warsaw. And, above all, with local people. Barbara Gryka involves her environment, her neighbors and fellow human beings in her performative artistic practice. And confronts them with issues that hurt.

The high-ceilinged, sun-dappled rooms of the Horizons exhibition also house the photo and text exhibition by journalists Jasmina Hanf and Karolina Kaltschnee. During a joint research project in autumn 2021, they travelled through Eastern Poland and collected material on the social effects of homophobia. On display are photos of the research, locations and individuals visited by the two journalists-cum-artists. They take visitors to the exhibition on their journey between Warsaw and Białystok with tear-off slips of paper featuring quotes from the interviews. Visitors can read excerpts of conversations on each slip of paper.

The artistic duo Anca Benera and Arnold Estefán, who live and work in Bucharest, combine not only different methods, but also locations and multiple layers, sometimes political, in their collaborative works. Their research on diamond mining has revealed connections of global magnitude, namely a Romanian shipyard set to mine diamonds in Namibia from 2022 onward. And like the mining of valuable material from the Atlantic across the most diverse geographical areas, the two artists are now permitting visitors a special glimpse of their work, at a time when it is rarely possible to obtain an inside view. They have been researching and working on diamond mining in Namibia for the past four years. Visitors are now able to see their compiled materials.

In her work, the Bulgarian artist Krasimira Butseva deals with trauma, memory and history in the context of Eastern European communism. She visited places of violence – labor camps built by the communist regime in Bulgaria between 1946 and 1989 – and documented prisons and government buildings. In her work A study of a practice, she has been looking back and reflecting on her practice and the processes she employs. Says Butsera: »The work I have produced addresses the fragmentation of traumatic memory and the amalgamation of my own self within these histories, and it attempts to narrate some interviews and situations which I have experienced while conducting research across the country«. The visual artist, researcher and writer declassified archival materials, documents and films from state security archives. She also conducts interviews with forced labor camp survivors, families of victims, witnesses, historians and history teachers.

The involvement of curator Gloria Grzywatz ensures that another fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude plays a key role in the exhibition.