September 21, 2019 – January 19, 2020
Opening: Friday, September 20, 2019, 7 p.m. (with a performance by Trajal Harrell at 8.30 p.m.)
Participating artists: Jesse Darling, Flaka Haliti, Trajal Harrell, Paul Maheke, Nick Mauss, Park McArthur, Oscar Murillo, Sondra Perry
The exhibition Transcorporealities reflects on the museum as a permeable body in which various biological, social, technological, political, and economic systems flow into each other. Like all human and nonhuman entities, it engages in perpetual metabolic processes with its environment.
Against this backdrop, the exhibition activates an area in the museum that is freely accessible and opens toward the urban space with its transparent façades and glass doors on two sides: the foyer. As a transitional space it forms a kind of membrane—on the one hand to protect the sensitive inner life of the institution from external influences, and on the other hand to open its pores to the environment and thus allow it to breathe. The artworks act directly on the space, create new micro-architectures, incorporate the existing facilities, or trace paths that run through the collection and further mediums the museum employs to reach its audience. The works are immersive, processual, or performative. Some deliberately resist material tangibility.
With his large-scale installation of bleachers inviting the visitors to take a seat between life-size figures, Oscar Murillo creates an agora situation around a stage on which a wide-ranging program of events will take place during the exhibition. A similar performative potentiality is suggested by Paul Maheke’s interventions: with his new body of work he deliberately draws attention to the thresholds between interior and exterior and calls in OOLOI—a fantastical alien being of a third gender. Flaka Haliti also examines the perspectives on nonhuman corporealities and focuses on obscure deep-sea creatures that exist beyond human reach and thus provoke speculations. While Jesse Darling’s installation with references to the legend of the Cologne patron Saint Ursula occupies some of the lockers in the foyer, Sondra Perry’s backhoe installation upends Western human exceptionalism. Technologies of representation are also shown to be porous when Perry uses them to reveal inherent discriminatory constructions of identity. Park McArthur understands the body as a relational structure rather than a self-contained unit. The materiality of her two sculptural works in the foyer—made of sound-, friction-, and shock-absorbing foam and rubber—point to the interdependencies between bodies and their environment. With her artistic contribution to the catalogue she pushes the boundaries of the exhibition walls even further.