Lantz’scher Skulpturenpark Lohausen 2021
18 July until
12 September 2021
Amid the architecture of an English landscape garden, Perseus holds Medusa’s head before an imaginary crowd of park visitors while simultaneously establishing visual connections with a large copper beech and scattered decorative vases in the immediate vicinity. Enchanted hedges, a classical villa, centuries-old trees, and plant species of various origins are interwoven with abstract sculptures from the postwar period and traces of stately grandeur, as well as the background hum of nearby air traffic passing over the park. These various components bring together a range of different temporalities, world views, and forms of artistic expression in Lantz’scher Park, turning it into a diverse garden with narrative strands running through the organic space of the park like threads. Inspired by the narrative realities and scope of the park, the exhibition titled Out here in the wild oats amid the alien corn, aims to transform the park into an imaginary space of possibility. In the tension between imagination, fiction, and reality, the invited artists interrogate past and present narratives, develop speculative fabulations, intertwine temporalities, reflect on our ways of living, and raise our awareness of the multitude of vibrant perspectives and modes of perception in order to construct a temporary web of alternative and polyphonic stories in the park. Mythical, utopian, critical, abstract or concrete, the inventive capacity of storytelling is not regarded as a renunciation of reality, but as an emancipatory tool to process and expand shared narratives and perspectives.
What collective narratives shape our coexistence? What realities do we produce in images, in everyday speech, thought, and action? Who speaks and takes up this common thread, who slices through it and spins it further? To what extent can fictional narratives cultivate spaces of alternative knowledge production and even become political tools?
The threads that are taken up or reworked in the exhibition weave connections to the cat’s cradle games that the biologist and feminist science theorist Donna Haraway draws on as models for creating multi-perspectival narratives. String stretched around the fingers—of one person or of many—allows for the creation of various figures; in addition to its widely known function as a game, it is also a cultural practice of storytelling. Other threads in the exhibition establish affinities with the baskets and containers that the science-fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin identifies as pivotal for the development of stories in her 1986 essay, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. Looking back at human history, Le Guin interrogates our earliest inventions for their narrative properties and suggests that the gatherers’ receptacles can be effective figures of thought in storytelling. The filled bag thus becomes a vessel for diverse perspectives and voices, allowing us to conceptualize untidy, complex, and unresolved narratives. A line from Le Guin’s essay forms the title of the exhibition and refers to a scope of action that is a far cry from the claim of “one” dominant narrative.
In addition to the sculptures that will be on display throughout the park for the entire duration of the exhibition, there will be a program featuring performances, workshops, dance, sound works, readings, and concerts.