Hamburger Bahnhof Museum: Berlin

By August 2, 2017art, gergwerk, photography, travel


While in Berlin, we visited the Hamburger Bahnhof, a contemporary art museum that is based out of the old Berlin–Hamburg Railway train station. In this post, we will look at installation work from the show moving is in every direction. Environments – Installations – Narrative Spaces.

The show traces history of installation work from 1960’s – present.  The non-linear narrative structure, put forth by Gertrude Stein, to which the exhibition title relates, serves as a starting point for exploring sculptural arrangements, image sequences, or spatially staged narratives. [1]

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

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Edward Kiesholz: Volksempfängers
 (people’s receiver)

Radio was the quickest and cheapest way to spread news during the 20th century. In attempt to propel nationalist socialist propaganda forward, the Nazi party pushed selling selling cheap radios called Volksempfangers (the people’s receiver).
Edward Kiesholz spent years finding Nazi receivers at flea markets and repurposing them into art. The installation allows visitors to activate audio from the speakers by stepping on floor pedals. The devices fill quiet museum halls with propaganda speeches, often layered with opera music written by Richard Wagner, a composer appropriated by the Nazis to symbolize the Aryan race.


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Joseph Beuys – Unschlitt (Tallow)

“To do something outdoors would be an aesthetic waste.” – Beuys (1977)

You either love Beuys or you are in deep denial about loving Beuys. His response to being asked to participate in an outdoor installation was to fill the dead space beneath a pedestrian underpass with tallow. In other words… Fat. The temperature of these large blocks of lard need to be constantly monitored as the heat from your body can begin to slightly melt the work. Photo: Anthony Agius. Art by Joseph Beuys – “Unschlitt” (1977)

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Susan Phillipsz: War Damaged Musical Instruments (Shellac, 2015)

Susan recorded a series of notes from different antique instruments that have been damaged in war. These ambient sounds begin to flow together as visitors move throughout the space. Seemingly random tones become harmonious, acting as an abstract salute to those instruments fallen on battlefields. In this installment, the instruments that were recorded are:

E-Sharp Alto Saxophone (1945)
E-Flat CavalryTrumpet (1918)
E-Flat Clarinet (1915)
Transverse Flue (1945)
Tuba (1915)
The Balaclava Bugle (1854)

Susan PhilipszSusan PhilipszSusan Philipsz

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Bernhard Leitner: Ton-Röhre (1973/2008)

Bernhard is some kind of audio wizard. As if by the wave of his wand, he presents a myriad of soundscapes by sweeping audio through an array of speakers. The audio greets guests in the form of broken melodies, stuttering vocals, and droning sound effects. These speaker layouts allow him to whip sound through spaces in astonishing ways. Eat your heart out, Dolby.

bernhard leitnerBernhard Leitner - Sound of Space 1973bleitnergaleriekargl29

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Robert Kusmirowski: Transition (2009)

Robert has transformed a passageway into a mock transit station. This work alludes to the fact the museum itself used to be the home of the major Berlin train station. The installation includes graffiti-covered advertisements, a typographic station sign, and subway tile (made of cardboard and Styrofoam).
Hamburger Banhof sign - Transition (2009)
art installation Transition by Robert Kusmirowski - image by dr.ruppe

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Isa Genzken & Wolfgang Tillmans: Science Fiction / Hier und jetzt zufrieden sein (2001)

I was a little tired at this point so I didn’t read much what this piece was about…but it sure made for fun instagram pics. Isa Genzken wolfgang tillmans

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Marcel Broodthaers: Un jardin d’hiver (1974)

Marcel Broodthaers: Un Jardin d‘Hiver, 1974

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Richard Artschwager: No Exit

These are just a few of the many installations in this museum. I highly recommend visiting if you are in Berlin!