Cyrill Lachauer, Cockaigne - I am not sea, I am not land, 2020, (Filmstill: Justin), © the artist, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz, Medienkunst, München

Cyrill Lachauer. I am not sea, I am not land – Sammlung Goetz in Haus der Kunst

Exhibition, from

Exhibition overview

Cyrill Lachauer (b. 1979 in Rosenheim, lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles) develops his extensive projects on long journeys, and delves deeply into the local cultures of the places he visits. For the exhibition by the Sammlung Goetz in the former air-raid shelter of Haus der Kunst, Lachauer has created a new multi-part installation, which includes films, videos, photographs and texts, as a dystopian development to the utopian spaces depicted in his last film “Dodging Raindrops – A Separate Reality.” The artist deals with the idea of land in various forms. Land can signify home and provide roots, or refer to a nourishing piece of earth. It can also, however, lead to inclusion or exclusion when it represents the idea of nationhood. Land can be owned or lived with. It can be taken away, destroyed, and made inaccessible to others. 

In “Cockaigne – I am not sea, I am not land,” we encounter a US American who has fled to Berlin to escape a long prison sentence, three diamond seekers in South Africa, a gay park worker in Yosemite National Park and people performing demonic Twelfth Night rituals in the alpine region. Lachauer does not assume the role of the distanced observer hidden behind the camera, but rather questions his own position by exploring socio-political issues concerning gender, identity, social class and nationhood.

The title of the exhibition refers to the 1567 painting “The Land of Cockaigne” by Peter Brueghel the Elder. In the painting, Breughel depicts a land of milk and honey (English Cockaigne) as an ironic utopian counterpart to the everyday harshness of peasant life.

In February 2021, Cyrill Lachauer has redesigned the staff entrance of the Haus der Kunst. In the sound installation with mural "True Love will find you in the End (Sermon for the Birds)" bird voices of those species can be heard, which can be seen in Giotto's paintings of the bird sermon of Francis of Assisi. These bird voices were collected, among others, for the project "Dawn Chorus" of the Biotopia Naturkundemuseum Bayern and the Stiftung Kunst und Natur. The idea was born in April 2020 when the first lockdown brought traffic to a standstill and suddenly bird calls could be heard again. Researchers and ornithologists around the world have since begun recording this morning bird song and storing it in the "Dawn Chorus" database. Together, Cyrill Lachauer and Moritz Stumm have now created a 16-minute composition that interrupts the soundscape of bird calls every 30 minutes.

Cyrill Lachauer also rubbed one wall of the corridor along its entire length with pigment. This horizon line was executed in the dark and light blues of dawn, the time of intense birdsong, and recalls the background in Giotto’s fresco painting. On the opposite wall is a handwritten text addressed to Gianni Nevada, which ends with the words “Earth – this damaged place in the endless space of Universe – needs totally new forms of coexistence. So long my friend, Yours Cyrill. PS: True Love will find you in the End.” With this missive, the artist rouses our gratitude for our endangered environment.

Curated by Cornelia Gockel und Susanne Touw