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and what do you believe in


Antje Blumenstein, Audrey Hope, Egle Otto, Achim Riethmann, and Ehsan Soheyli Rad


Nick Koppenhagen, Isabelle Meiffert


xpon-art, Hamburg


March 2015

The final exhibition of the Year of Faith at xpon-art dealt with falling away from the faith, failure and those who failed. After it at AND WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN? For a year, different forms of (everyday) faith were discussed, the negation of our faith was the subject of the final exhibition. The dissolution of belief in different social systems such as the art, media and legal systems were highlighted. When and why do people fall from their faith? Some of the assembled positions negotiate this topic very concretely and offer different perspectives and insights into current social phenomena. In other works, the loss of faith is reflected on a meta-level.

Antje Blumenstein has created a monumental, abstract object covered with black foil for the exhibition. Both the form and the crackling of the cut foils, which change and contract during the exhibition, allow associations with a pyre. It is a symbol for our failure and the failed. The Hamburg painter Egle Otto has created a gloomy self-portrait. It shows her as a puny frog. He is lying on the ground without legs; appears to be unable to move and has come to terms with the situation. The protagonists of the series of fallen figure skaters are also in a tragic situation. The spotlight and the Facebook tag (tag) emphasize this moment of failure. Is this exposure in the social networks, known in extreme form as a so-called 'shit storm', the contemporary form of a social stake? Ehsan Soheyli Rad's work developed for the exhibition reflects on the phenomenon of miscarriage of justice and raises a number of questions. What happens to people who are wrongly convicted? Is the conviction correct or the verdict that overturns it? And how does the disclosure of wrongful convictions shake our belief in the legal system in its claim to represent both the truth (in the sense of a fixed fact) and the law (as normatively required)? The Hamburg artist Felix Thiele represents the organization Exit Art, which offers artists professional help and pastoral care when they leave the art system. Information material is available in the exhibition. Falling away from belief in certain systems is also reflected in the work of Achim Riethmann. His watercolors show stone throwers who are removed from their context. It remains unclear who these people are, what their motivation is, what their anger is directed at. The actors can be imagined in many different scenarios and actually go back to press photos that were taken in different parts of the world. The fabric installation The Empty Shrine by the New York artist Audrey Hope is shown, which in terms of material and structure refers to the tradition of religious grotto construction. Sequins, feathers, shells, tinsel, various scraps of fabric, some printed, sand and plastic beads – the work combines many different found materials. As an empty shrine, the textile work lacks the center that could serve as the actual purpose of the object's production. Instead, we see a surface that is equally repulsive and attractive, and its sombre color suggests a very fundamental loss of faith. The work vanitas vanitatum ('Everything is vanity.' or 'Everything is transient.') by Antje Blumenstein is also about the search for a greater meaning for our life and its failure. Do we need faith to come to terms with our own mortality? At the same time, the golden color application evokes associations with wealth and material values. In the context of the exhibition, the saying also seems to be a reminder of the finitude of materialism: Everything is transient.

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