OKKA-ESTHER HUNGERBÜHLER – NASE
08.04. – 30.06.2022
Softopening: 08.04.2022, 7 pm
Opening Hours: Thurs/Fri 4–8 pm, Sat 12–4 pm
There sits the nose, prominent. Right in the center of the face. A little silly, but very useful. From the nose, chains of association spring, and it’s in the spaces between, where the solo exhibition of artist Okka-Esther Hungerbühler nests. New sculptures, paintings, and installations are united under the exhibition’s title, Nase (Nose). Hungerbühler's works connect with their kind and always also with their viewers. The sculptures are often robotic and thus possess the ability to react to the visitor. But they’re self-sufficient as well. Parvati humbly makes her rounds. Always in the Kreisverkehr, the roundabout located on top of the oversized red felt dress that spills from the wall onto the floor. The narratives, which hereby unfold inhabit the space between the known and the unknown. The new has not yet replaced the familiar. Hungerbühler invites her audience to enter this space of the in-between. Rites of Passage. Outcome: uncertain.
They’re strangely familiar—these cheap materials from which the sculptures are made. Wrapping paper, artificial feathers, garden gnomes. Sort of cute, always on the verge of slipping into the grotesque. The sculptures look as if they’ve been hastily patched up—carelessly and provisionally—after a major accident, and now—battered and somewhat confused—they must again search for their place in the world. A world where there’s really no place for things without a clear function. Strands from Hungerbühler’s hot glue gun, with which she glues her sculptures together, are still visible. The Christmas gnome Baby Girl doesn't hide the fact that beneath his new hat, identifying him as “Baby Girl,” he’s still a Christmas gnome and somehow can’t escape his skin. It’s the imperfections that bring the characters to life. And it’s the fractures that tell their story. Hungerbühler offers no formulated narratives. The stories function like miniatures that evaporate the moment they appear, and it's precisely this that illustrates the infinite possibilities abound in life. Many of the figures appear again and again in different constellations in Hungerbühler's work, offering alternative or overlapping narrative threads. In the process, a world is revealed that seems to have come apart at the seams. In addition to the sculptures, paintings are on view: Big Ben in London, Neuschwanstein Castle, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. As places of longing, they’re all firmly anchored in the repertoire of desire. And so, themes such as mortality and yearning unravel via the “nose.” As in fairy tales, the same applies for Hungerbühler’s work: things only appear as cute and made for children at first glance. They contain a greater wisdom, a deeper knowledge, about the complicated inner life of human beings.
Okka-Esther Hungerbühler (*1988, Bonn).
Hungerbühler studied from 2010 to 2016 at the University of the Arts in Berlin in the class of Thomas Zipp and spent a semester at Cooper Union in New York City.
Solo exhibitions include: The Bellermann Hypnotist, Berlin: Okka's Kleider (2021); Schwartzsche Villa, Berlin: Die faule Nuss (2019); Galerie Haverkampf Leistenschneider, Berlin: Willkommen im neuen Jahr (2018), Ich zeige mich von der vorteilhaftesten Seite (2019); Avlskarl Gallery, Copenhagen: Empty bars from above (2018); D.e.l.f., Vienna: Jeder gegen jeden. Participation in numerous international group exhibitions. Among others at Kunstverein Schwerin; KW Berlin; Galerie Wedding, Berlin; Kunstsaele Berlin; Ashley Berlin; MuMoK Vienna, and Oz Zingaro Gallery, Tokyo. In 2014, she received the Berlin Art Prize. In 2016, she was a resident artist at Villa Concordia in Bamberg. Her first catalog Die faule Nuss was published by Distanz Verlag in 2019 on the occasion of the solo exhibition of the same name at Schwartzsche Villa, Berlin. In 2021, she received a research grant from the city of Berlin.
Curated by Laura Helena Wurth
Die Ausstellung wird gefördert durch die Landeshauptstadt Dresden, Amt für Kultur und Denkmalschutz, durch die Stiftung Kunstfonds im Rahmen des Sonderförderprogramms 20/21 NEUSTART KULTUR - Förderung von Kunstvereinen, sowie mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Schweizerischen Botschaft in Berlin.