Benjamin Bergmann; Phantom

9 September 2023 - 6 October 2023

Benjamin Bergmann


Ideas and inspiration for a new work don't fall from the sky. Nor do they turn the next corner or jump out at me from an ambush. Rather, it is a mixture of coincidence and the desire to move through daily life with alert eyes whenever I am able to do so.
It can be stated with certainty that it is images that have a lasting influence on a new work. Images of the world, our world, nature, things, villages, cities and life. Images of and about us humans, which for me, in my very personal perception break out of the ordinary; are strange, confusing, irritating and in this way have a lasting effect. They make me think and reflect. They raise questions in me. The bigger the question, the harder to find a possible answer, the better the picture.
In the sense of a competition, the winner is probably the picture to whose question there is no answer, but possibly only more questions. I collect these pictures, put them in small boxes and - since computers have been around - also in digital folders. The folders get different names. Names to sort them by content or also to separate the picture collections from each other in time and place. Frankly speaking, absolutely unsystematic, chaotic and yet somehow helpful.

Of course, I am not alone with such collections. Countless, possibly all artists, have such an archive of photos, newspaper clippings, texts, songs and much more. One of the best-known collections in pictorial form, which consistently accompanies the life of an artist and seems to me like a diary, is "Atlas" by Gerhard Richter.
In the exhibition "Phantom", on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the apartment der kunst, I present part of my personal archive in the form of a spatial collage of black and white and colored images.
Phantom is the unreal appearance, the frightening unknown, the sensory illusion and the mirage.
The exhibition project "Phantom" combines themes and characteristics that overlap with my mental cosmos and thus also play an important role in my work (at least a significant part of it). Images that tell of beauty and a poetry of absence. Events charged with an absurd and seductive aesthetic of decay and transience. Images of light and shadow that are about mistakes and failure, the deception of the senses and the many things that evaporate and cannot be grasped.
Unlike Gerhard Richter's atlas, however, the collection I present is both archive and deception. For images that I have collected over the years are mixed in "Phantom" with the findings of a quick and superficial research on the Internet. Some of them correspond to events and reality, some are posed, digitally manipulated, and snatched from reality.
Which image actually originates from my personal cosmos or my inspiring collection and which images are due to the search for keywords and phenomena on the Internet, becomes a riddle for the viewer. My apparent promise to provide insight into the creation and motivation for a new work of art turns out to be false. "Phantom" is insight and "phantom" is illusion at the same time.

The realization of my intention in the apartment of art is still not clear in my mind. I probably have an inkling of it and have made one or two attempts. Much arises in this very moment (while thinking and writing) and will then show itself, in the apartment für kunst.

Benjamin Bergmann, August 2023

diaspora Iran: (Be)longing

24 June 2023 - 21 July 2023

We are pleased to announce the exhibition Diaspora Iran: (Be)longing curated by Vinzenz Adldinger and Keivan Moussavi Aghdam. Vinzenz Adldinger assisted at the Apartment of Art for three years during his studies. During this time he undertook two trips to Iran and met the Iranian art historian Keivan Moussavi Aghdam in Berlin. Since that time, the concept for this exhibition has developed piece by piece, which we can now finally realise.

Immigration encapsulates the complex interplay between one's familiar homeland and its absence. Distance, as a fundamental concept, plays a defining role in shaping the immigrant experience. Migration creates a melancholic atmosphere in which individuals find themselves navigating the simultaneous existence of two worlds. They engage in the daily life of their host country; memories, news, concerns, and joys from their place of origin persist in an abstract form. Consequently, immigrants find themselves on the border between two realms, caught between the notions of "there" and "here," without fully belonging to either.

This exhibition showcases the works of artists who have created their art while living in exile. Titled Diaspora Iran: (Be)longing, the exhibition invites the spectator to contemplate distance and connection between these artworks and the notion of belonging. There is a palpable sense of detachment and distance; however, paradoxically, one's sense of identity is also defined by what one is distanced from. The ongoing "Woman, Life, Freedom" movement, closely followed by immigrants, accentuates both the sense of separation and the emerging bond.

This exhibition seeks to provide an opportunity to explore and engage with the art and culture of a diverse group of Munich citizens. Additionally, the exhibition aims to facilitate meaningful discussions among Iranians living in Munich, allowing them to express their thoughts in an artistically reflective manner and fostering a deeper appreciation for the breadth of Iranian art production within the diaspora.
Vinzenz Adldinger and Keivan Moussavi Aghdam

Short biographies:

Parastou Forouhar shows "Augen, Panorama I" from 2020, a wall-sized digital drawing with figures trying to protect themselves from omnipresent gazes. The artist employs the symbols of Iranian art, namely calligraphy, ornamentation, and elements of religious art, to convey the intricate political and social landscape of Iran through a symbolic lens. She explores the female body as a significant political theme, critically examining the controlling perspective prevalent within Iran's patriarchal society.

Kaveh Kavoosi shows three works: A film from the Enharmonic series in which the interplay of external influences on elements of life that need to be protected can be seen, as well as two collages from the Positions series. He follows Iranian painting traditions, offering a poignant portrayal of contemporary social and political issues. He captures his experience in exile by utilizing abstract spaces. His artworks serve as a multifaceted expression of his connection to his homeland, while acting as a shield, affording him refuge from the conditions within the country.

Neda Razavipour shows the documentation of her installation and performance "Musical Chairs" from the Zürich Tanzt Festival of 2021. Chairs symbolise the absence from loved ones, which she connects with ribbons and in this way receives comfort for the wounds of separation.
A central concern in her performances lies in depicting the condition of humanity in the contemporary world, where surface appearances convey calmness and order, but a sense of abnormality lurks behind the facade. She creates artworks that capture the experience of a fragmented existence.

Golnar Tabibzadeh is represented with five paintings showing faces whose coloured surfaces connect, expressing different states of mind such as worry, joy, but also longing and depression of the artist herself and other people she observes. Her artworks manifest a discernible presence of self-narrative. Within the realm of her artistic expressions, she diligently seeks to encapsulate the intricate dynamics between her personal identity and the external environment. Notably, her artworks exist in a liminal space, poised between the realms of introspection and the external world.

Vinzenz Adldinger currently in his M.A. studies of Art History of Near and Middle East at LMU Munich focusing on contemporary western and Iranian art. Assisting at the Apartment of Art for three years, he came into contact with many local and international artists. Co-working at Munich's Cinema IranFestivals, he was able to deepen his specialisation with important Iranian cultural figures.

Keivan Moussavi Aghdam focuses on the philosophy of art and photography in contemporary Iranian art. Since 2019, he has been working on his doctoral degree as a PhD Candidate in Visual History at Humboldt University in Berlin with a scholarship from the Max-Planck-Society. He holds a Master's degree in Art Theories and a Bachelor's degree in Photography.