14 November – 23 December 2015

    MOMENTUM, Kunstquartier Bethanien (14 November – 23 December 2015) Curated by David Elliott Loan by Kontakt: Artur Zmijewski, KR WP, 2000 75 Artists from 14 Countries from the Former “East” Stiftung Brandenburger Tor im Max Liebermann Haus, Pariser Platz 7, 10117 Berlin Kühlhaus am Gleisdreieck, Luckenwalderstrasse 3, 10963 Berlin MOMENTUM, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin Balagan!!! is a popular and much used exclamation in contemporary Russian art that describes, with celebratory gusto, a farce, a fine mess, the most unholy of cock-ups – but it is also the title of a major exhibition curated by David Elliott in Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg, for MOMENTUM and the NORDWIND Festival 2015, of the contemporary art of the former USSR and its former allies. The exhibition includes over 150 artworks by 75 artists from 14 countries from the former ‘East’ that all have one thing in common: the artists’ struggle to digest what they have experienced, and their attempt to reconcile this with their desire for a new, hopefully better, life and art. Yet this exhibition also reveals a world where chaos and misrule, along with the social comedy that results from it, are scathingly exposed. In 1999, when Elliott was Director of Moderna Museet, he conceived the exhibition AFTER THE WALL. Art and Culture in post-Communist Europe – also shown in the Ludwig Museum, Budapest and the Hamburger Bahnhof/Max Liebermann Haus in Berlin – its idea was to ‘measure’ cultural change by showing, for the first time together, the generation of artists that had emerged in the decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now, twenty-five years after this momentous event, the world revealed in BALAGAN!!! seems more restrictive with less hope. Poverty is still a huge problem, nationalisms are again resurgent, ethnic and religious conflicts of many kinds bubble under the surface, and popular cynicism regarding politics is rife…. Yet, unacknowledged by the West, the autonomy, integrity and talent of many contemporary artists from this region is unimpaired. In Berlin the exhibition will take place in three different venues: the museum spaces of the Max Liebermann Haus next to the Brandenburg Gate, the rough industrial interiors of Kühlhaus, a former refrigeration plant on Gleisdreieck, and in MOMENTUM, part of the Bethanien Art District in Kreuzberg. A lecture, symposium and performance programme will be organised in co-operation with The Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), the Stiftung Brandenburger Tor and the Hamburger Bahnhof. During the time of the exhibition, works by some artists in it will also be shown at Hellerau, Dresden and Kampnagel, Hamburg.