Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
Curated by Nadja Quante
With her solo exhibition IN A MIST at Badischer Kunstverein, Michaela Melián is showing a new multipart work that encompasses a range of different media, including film, sound, drawing, photography, a mural, and installative elements.
The visual artist and musician approaches historical narratives and explores their cultural projections. In her works she develops multifaceted fields of memory and complex systems of reference. She transforms her precise research into spatial sculptural installations that lend visibility to social conditions.
The starting point for her new work IN A MIST is the play Fritz Bauer, which was written in 1929 by Natalia Saz and W. Selichova and premiered at the Moscow Children’s Theater. In this children’s play, the class struggle and harsh living conditions experienced by a working-class family in Germany during the late 1920s are addressed from a Soviet perspective. The communist laborer Karl Bauer is forced to go into hiding since he is wanted by the police for being involved in the organization of a strike. His wife and child are left behind without any foundation for existence. The police resort to all means, even violence, in trying to obtain information about his hideout from his son Fritz Bauer. The play ends with the family being brought to Moscow by Russian comrades.
According to Natalia Saz, Fritz Bauer is the first play put on by the Moscow Children’s Theater aiming at the international education of children of a “middle and advanced Pioneer age.” Many of the issues raised in this theatrical piece are still pertinent today, such as precarious employment situations or unequal educational opportunities. Furthermore, the play reflects a basic conflict of the last hundred years: the antagonistic relationship between communism and capitalism.
In a collage of music, language, and images, Michaela Melián takes up representations of topics treated in this play. She disassembles individual elements and issues, shedding light on the topicality of certain thematic complexes from the play by integrating a variety of perspectives. She then forms new constellations, presented in a dynamic spatial situation in a mist of past and present.
The new film In a Mist is coproduced by Badischer Kunstverein, Münchner Kammerspiele, and Bayerischer Rundfunk / Hörspiel und Medienkunst. The audio play of the same title will be broadcasted on BR radio on 16 May at 9.05 pm.
Michaela Melián (b. 1956 in Munich) lives and works in Hamburg and Munich. She studied art and music in Munich and London and is a member of the band F.S.K. (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle). Since 2010 Melián is professor of Time-based Media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg.
Part of: 2014 - 1914 Peace + War 22nd Festival of European Culture Karlsruhe 7 - 25 May 2014