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ohne Titel (nature), 2023Oil, sand, filler on canvas / courtesy the artist / photo: Zora Berweger

ohne Titel (nature), 2023
Oil, sand, filler on canvas / courtesy the artist / photo: Zora Berweger

ohne Titel (green heart), 2019Bast, wire, plaster, pigment / courtesy the artist / photo: Zora Berweger

ohne Titel (green heart), 2019
Bast, wire, plaster, pigment / courtesy the artist / photo: Zora Berweger

ohne Titel (evolve), 2019Neon, Edition 3 + 1AP / courtesy the artist / photo: Zora Berweger

ohne Titel (evolve), 2019
Neon, Edition 3 + 1AP / courtesy the artist / photo: Zora Berweger

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Zora Berweger

Greeting the Unseen

29 October 2023 – 14 April 2024 / Kunsthalle

The oeuvre of Zora Berweger (*1981 in Bern, CH, lives and works in Leipzig, DE) includes painting, drawing, ceramics, installation, sculpture, photography and light. Her multimedia works draw on a vocabulary of basic geometric shapes, archaic-looking objects and design borrowed from nature.

Using min­im­al means and care­fully chosen ma­ter­i­als, Ber­weger stages her works as spa­tial in­stall­a­tions. She first ex­am­ines the ex­hib­i­tion site closely as if it were a pictori­al space and then ex­per­i­ments with scale, con­stel­la­tions and dis­place­ments while jux­ta­pos­ing dif­fer­ent media. Pe­cu­li­ar fea­tures of volumes, sur­faces and ma­ter­i­al­ity unite with the per­cep­tion of light and col­our to lend her works an altered pres­ence. In­spired by the spa­tial con­di­tions at the Kun­sthalle Ap­pen­zell, Ber­weger has cre­ated a dia­logue amongst the works, ma­ter­i­als and space in which the in­di­vidu­al ele­ments com­mu­nic­ate with one an­oth­er to re­veal kin­ships in terms of both con­tent and form.

Tak­ing the lay­out of the Kun­sthalle with its three stacked ex­hib­i­tion rooms as her cue, Ber­weger has ori­ented her work on the fig­ure of a plant. She fo­cuses here on func­tions, po­ten­tials and tasks of dif­fer­ent plant parts to cre­ate com­bin­a­tions that in­vari­ably refer to some­thing un­seen or con­cealed. While the root sys­tem, anchored in the earth and thus largely hid­den from view, serves as the artist’s sub­stant­ive and form­al start­ing point on the ground floor, she equates the cent­ral gal­lery with the core part of a plant, where nu­tri­ents are bundled and forces flow to­geth­er. The up­per­most space then holds mani­fest­a­tions of the plant with­in our own at­mo­sphere as well as its con­nec­tion to the great­er cos­mos.

The ex­hib­i­tion cir­cuit starts with a large-scale neon in­stall­a­tion cre­ated es­pe­cially for this oc­ca­sion. Ele­ments whose ap­pear­ance is dom­in­ated by glass, light and power cables are sus­pen­ded from the ceil­ing by fine wires. The space is ded­ic­ated to un­der­ground realms and to the earth’s in­teri­or, so that the in­di­vidu­al light signs mak­ing up Roots (2023) to­geth­er form a kind of lu­min­ous root sys­tem. The neon bod­ies speak a re­duced form­al lan­guage and evoke mul­tiple as­so­ci­ations: they may re­call ty­po­graph­ic ele­ments, writ­ten char­ac­ters from past cul­tures, pos­sibly hiero­glyph­ics, sym­bols, an­ten­nae, tree branches or the simplest of tools. Roots refers to com­mu­nic­a­tion sys­tems, for ex­ample those of plants, which are in con­tact with each other through their roots, not only ex­chan­ging in­form­a­tion but also listen­ing and hear­ing.

Zora Ber­weger­’s oeuvre is marked by an in­ter­play between flat­ness and space. After start­ing out as a paint­er, she has gradu­ally shif­ted her prac­tice to three-di­men­sion­al space, work­ing with both sculp­ture and in­stall­a­tion. She has in­creas­ingly fo­cused on sculp­tur­al, pur­su­ing works in re­lief and wall ob­jects. More re­cently, Ber­weger has turned her at­ten­tion to pho­to­graph­ing spa­tial set­tings with pre­cisely staged min­im­al­ist ar­range­ments of ma­ter­i­als and ob­jects. In the two-di­men­sion­al me­di­um of the pho­to­graph, these sculp­tur­al bod­ies ac­quire a sign-like or sym­bol­ic pres­ence and be­come car­ri­ers of memor­ies of haptic and im­me­di­ate phys­ic­al ex­per­i­ences.

The ex­hib­i­tion ex­tends across 450 square metres and the three floors of the Kun­sthalle Ap­pen­zell. It show­cases new works while at the same time of­fer­ing a ret­ro­spect­ive of the artist’s oeuvre. Greet­ing the Un­seen is Ber­weger­’s first in­sti­tu­tion­al solo ex­hib­i­tion, en­abling her mul­ti­me­dia work to be presen­ted com­pre­hens­ively and ex­per­i­enced as a hol­ist­ic or­gan­ism. 


Stefanie Gschwend, Dir­ect­or Kun­st­mu­seum / Kun­sthalle Appenezell

The exhibition is kindly supported by


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