Situated smack in the middle of Neukölln, one of Berlin’s most “multikulti” neighborhoods, La Placette called upon eight artists to articulate their experiences as migrant artists for its current exhibition “Fluchtpunkt” (translated as “vanishing point”). Working in mediums including photography, illustration, graphic design and video, their messages were as varied as their artistic techniques. Their works ran the gamut of possible sentiments, giving tangible form to emotions ranging from indifference to combativeness. I found this exhibition surprisingly insightful and undoubtedly worthy of your time.
Several works centered on the literal theme of flight. Co’, for example, likened her friends in Berlin to “migratory birds,” each perched on a small piece of wood. Although the work’s construction is rather primitive, her zoomorphic concept is effective. In Katherine Oggier Chanda’s video “Takeoff,” she attempted flight in Templehof with large pink garbage bags attached haphazardly to her back. Frustratingly repetitive, especially with our unquestionable knowledge of her doomed failure, Chanda barely takes off for more than a few milliseconds.
Meanwhile, other artists represented a migrant’s outsider status. In a stark depiction, Alban Lavy’s captivating photograph depicts one lone policeman longingly gazing homeward among the chaos of a massive police force. Maëlle Schaller’s work, an illustration overlaid on an old Berlin map, humanizes the confusion felt by migrants when orienting themselves in a new city.
A visitor plays along with Co’s cardboard mouse. Photo: Alban Lavy
A few artists presented a more favorable depiction of migration. Co’s large-scale mouse made out of cardboard conveys indifference and ease. As the mouse looks casually out of the window, paper planes, perhaps representing fears and worries, crash into the floor beneath her feet. Meanwhile, the graphic works of Monsieur Geeko make clever visual word puns, emphasizing the lingual advantage of being migrant.
One of Laetitia Hildebrand’s semi-abstract paintings features miniscule figures, as well as a giraffe and showman, braving tightropes like trail of ants across the city. As some figures hang dangling, their future literally held in the hands of their fellow citizens, Hildebrand portrays the fragility of all human experience and our equality regardless of citizenship.
- La Placette “Fluchtpunkt” – October 10th – November 15th, 2012, Monday – Friday 1- 5 pm
Article by Patricia Restrepo