Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Home: As You See Me, 2017, © Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice

Interiorities. Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Leonor Antunes, Henrike Naumann, Adriana Varejão

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Exhibition overview

Our present is characterized by an increasing externalization of the interior. We actively publish details of our private lives on social media and invite them to be scrutinized, shared and rated. Despite this development of an almost pornographic exhibitionism of the individual, it becomes increasingly unclear which political attitudes, historical connections, and even which mental states or social ties actually make up their identity.

So what happens inside us? Taking the historical subject of interior painting as a point of departure, the exhibition investigates the texture of a transnational and multiple identity that is at the same time fragmented and complex. The fundamental question of the conditions of inside and outside, as well as the negotiation of their borders, is at the heart of the exhibition. The central focus is on positions that do not treat the interior as an escapist retreat, but instead present it as a discursive space that can amalgamate the facets of the outer world like a kaleidoscope. In the works of the artists, migration and transcultural identity play just as much a role as historical entanglements. They deal with the interior of the imagination, as well as with the interior as a real setting, as a private retreat or shelter, or as a space with the potential to reflect and change the social and political zeitgeist.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby (*1983 in Enugu, Nigeria) makes vibrantly patterned paintings on paper that negotiate the complex cultural terrain of a life formed between two worlds: her adopted home in America and her native Nigeria. Inspired by photography, fashion, architecture and design, as well as her own family history, Akunyili Crosby's works reflect her experience, and often feature domestic spaces that function as physical, conceptual and emotional points of arrival and departure. For Leonor Antunes (*1972 in Lisbon, Portugal), the focus is on migration and the transformation of form and ideas beyond temporal and geographical spaces. The starting point for her elegant site-specific sculptures and interventions is the exploration of art, design and architectural history. In particular, the socially-transformative potential of modernity is a special inspiration. Adriana Varejão (*1964 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) addresses the colonial history of Brazil in her visceral sculptures and paintings. She often uses the motif of the wall, the boundary between inside and outside, from whose fragile texture the suppressed, violent past seems to swell into the present. The omnipresence of the past also colors the work of trained stage designer Henrike Naumann (*1984 Zwickau, Germany), whose immersive installations engage the East-West German past and right-wing ideology. Naumann explores the mechanisms of radicalization and explores how they manifest themselves in space. In different ways, the works of each artist use the interior as a framework to find images for multi-faceted identities.

On the occasion of the exhibition, Haus der Kunst will publish an exhibition catalog. 

Curated by Anna Schneider