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OPENING. Marianne Hollenstein, Human Condition


Set presents the first project: Marianne Hollenstein’ exhibition Human Condition, supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine.

The Human Condition

“I believe in the aesthetics of simplicity,” – Marianne Hollenstein, the Swiss artist, says. Her paintings, installations, graphics, performances, collages and scenography possess impressive moderateness which could hardly be called minimalistic still. This is the manifestation of an effective balance between the intellectual and sensual, Hegel’s ethical aesthetics. As in the good text or speech that need no special epithets to be clearly understood.
The artist’s exhibition in Kyiv combines several works and cycles, and her “Letters in Between” performance shown in France, Germany and other countries becomes the quintessence of it. This performance is based upon the letters of Hanna Arendt, the German-American philosopher of the Jewish descent, to Martin Heidegger, her teacher and lover, who turned into her ideological enemy because of accepting and legitimizing Nazism in his works. Millions of people have failed in love, still it is so hard to name the challenge more intolerable for a reflective and thoughtful human than losing the intellectual partner and communication that brought inspiration and enlightened the comprehending of the world, the nature of things and the human.
When reading Arendt’s letters aloud, Hollenstein fills sheets of paper and scrolls in with strange symbols. It is her own lettering-ornament which resembles cardiac waveforms, encephalogram or polygraph detector results. The rhythm of her mystical writings unleashes passions, hopes and frustrations that cannot find any peace in her philosophical texts, though give balance to the state of the message. Arendt’s humanitarian worldview is so firm as if it is a plateau not vulnerable to earthquakes.
“What does it mean to be a human?” — the question which inspires Hollenstein in her artworks. “In everything I do, my work refers to the people and the society, and the true spiritual and political constitution of my environment.” That is why she turned to the Holocaust tragedy, understanding which is a cornerstone of modern culture and civilization of Europe, the birthplace of humanistic worldview which generated it’s ugliest perversions.
Working with simple things and found objects that bring special sense to the viewer touch unexpected feelings and reveal sudden meanings because of the architecture, action and light combined. Palimpsest, the play with something already forgotten, marginalized and symbolically shown, settle down in the matter: the artist uses old newspapers as the basis for calligraphic and painting.
In “The Human Condition”, one of the most remarkable works of Hanna Arendt, she sets human activity against productivity. According to the philosopher, human rights should include the right to act and to think. These are the human and humane displays at the times when manufacturing turns actions into machinery and nothing more. Marianne Hollenstein destabilizes pragmatic perspective used by us to see everything with her works and worldview, her individual activity provokes thought and action in the viewer.

Curator: Kostiantyn Doroshenko

Venue: Set, Independent Art Space

Address: Kyiv, 14А Yaroslaviv Val Str.

Time:19.00 – 21.00

Entrance: Invitation only