Harburger Berge (The Harburg Hills)

October 1 — November 1, 2009

Six international artists and artists’ groups were invited to design works for public spaces in Hamburg’s Harburg district which would question existing images of urban life on the periphery – and produce new ones. Contrary to what the title »Harburg Hills«, with its local reference, might suggest, the intention is not to create lasting emblems for Harburg or to emphasize its existing attractions but rather to offer aesthetic experiences of either everyday or less familiar locations in the district of Harburg. The exhibition invites its visitors, whether local or from further afield, to take walks through the architectural, social, historical and economic urban landscape. Some projects make assertions which are refuted elsewhere. The questions that are given visual form relate to topics such as »authenticity« and »representation« and open up a realm of possibility in which there can be direct and productive feedback from art and reflections on (one’s own) urban living. The project follows on from the series »10°Kunst« and is subsidized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Media of the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg.


Tatzu Nishi

With his sculptural interventions in everyday environments the Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, who lives in Berlin, offers new perspectives on apparently ordinary things. The points of church spires, street lamps and bronze sculptures are remodelled by Tatzu Nishu into what seem like private domestic furnishings: the artist builds a living-room around an angel which is actually the weathervane of Basel Cathedral, reducing it to a table decoration; a stone statue from a monument suddenly stands with both feet on the mattress of a double bed, and a street lamp protruding, upside down, into an underpass becomes, in Nishi’s room setting, an outsize ceiling light. In Harburg the artist chooses for his intervention no less a building than the town hall and its 113-year-old clock, in front of which he builds a living-room which the viewer can enter.

Tatzu Nishi, *1960 in Nagoya (Japan), lives in Berlin

Olaf Nicolai

With simple but very precise interventions, stagings and conceptual arrangements, Olaf Nicolai is able to produce complex shifts of context. His works do not arise from an artistic assertion of autonomy, but always in direct relation to the political, social, architectural and institutional environment in which they are realized. They may make reference to the place – its past or its present—or to scientific questions, or conventions within the system of art. For his Harburg project Nicolai asked the Kunstverein to engage a non-local double to explore the district in his place. The subjective impressions gathered in this way were worked on, rearranged and put into book form by Nicolai. This work is a continuation, in Harburg, of his series »How to Produce a Site-Specific Work Anywhere«, begun in 2001, which has already treated cities such as Vienna, Prague and Moscow.
The Harburg-Tagebuch (Harburg Diary) can be obtained from the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof.

Olaf Nicolai, *1962 in Halle/Saale, lives and works in Berlin

Ivan Moudov

Ivan Moudov sells conjuring tricks to finance his own art collection, steals parts of contemporary works of art in order to build a second collection out of them, and, along with a large number of journalists, celebrates the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sofia (MUSIZ). His works offer a humorous, historically-based commentary on general developments and »logics« within the international art world, and on the situation of contemporary art in Bulgaria in particular. Power structures form the occasion and the content of his works, for the realization of which he uses the creation of public media events as an artistic medium in the same way as he uses videos, installations, photographs and performances. In the context of his Harburg project, Moudov is cooperating with the Bulgarian Institute of Culture (BIC) to exhibit parts of the collection of the Sofia Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSIZ) in Harburg.

Ivan Moudov, *1975 in Sofia (Bulgaria), lives and works in Sofia

Julia Bünnagel

The sculptural works of this Cologne artist revolve around the theme of »urbanity«. In them, urban life, the observation of architecture and »urban psychology« are reflected in abstract form. Julia Bünnagel always develops her exhibitions with direct reference to the place where they will be shown, and works in various media. Mostly she creates installations, sometimes with photographic elements and in some cases with the added dimension of sound. She uses predominantly »cool« materials, which, perfectly executed and geometrically arranged, create a heightened sensitivity to the nature of the space. For this exhibition, Julia Bünnagel realizes an installation, entitled »All Those Tomorrows«, in Hamburg’s biggest civilian air raid shelter in the S-Bahn station Harburg Rathaus, »Großer Schippsee« entrance.

Julia Bünnagel, *1977 in Haan, lives and works in Cologne

Matthias Einhoff

In his projects this Berlin artists experiments with situations of creative and performative participation in social contexts. In Harburg Einhoff is interested in the life of clubs and societies as a social space and an opportunity for citizens to become involved. On 27 September 2009, in a ceremony organized by him, various local societies come together on the »Sand« market place, having been invited to use their participation as a public platform for expressing opinions and making themselves known to the public. They are given the kind of grand display normally reserved for the staging of major state or sporting occasions: the society’s flag is hoisted, its anthem sung, messages are delivered from a stand in the form of large-scale composite posters. The same is true of the »documentary« made for later showing: the movements of cameras mounted on cranes underline the importance attached to the event.

Matthias Einhoff, *1972 in Hildesheim, lives and works in Berlin


The Italian artists’ group ZimmerFrei experimentally combines film with theatre and sound. Now in Harburg too, following panoramic films of cities like Rome and Athens, 360° views of the inner harbour and Seevepassage are used to create a film that combines documentary with staged images in a highly individual way. Using a time-lapse technique, the material photographed over several hours by means of an automatically moving camera is turned into an approximately 15-minute video which shows the changes in weather and light conditions and the passers-by who seem to dash across the horizon at great speed. Small narrative strands give the work a number of additional levels, for instance when some sheep pass through the pedestrian zone or the actors’ very slow movements are brought back, by compression, to a slightly distorted normal speed.

ZimmerFrei, founded in Bologna in 1999. Anna de Manincor (*1972 in Trento), Anna Rispoli (*1974 in Bassano del Grappa) and Massimo Carozzi (*1967 in Massa) work in Bologna and Brussels