Introduction

'TrAIN to Bad Ems' in Berlin

Under the aegis of the Summer of Culture Rhineland-Palatinate 2009 Cool Britannia and in partnership with the University of the Arts London, the Kuenstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral is carrying out the project ‘TrAIN to Bad Ems’. The project began during the artists’ visit to Bad Ems, was further developed over the summer, and is now concluding with an exhibition in the Kunstverein Tiergarten | Galerie Nord in Berlin from 25 September till 31 Ocotber 2009.

“TrAIN” has a double meaning here: First, the title plays with the idea of traveling, of discovering a place, and of moving on and thereby creates a connection with the heyday of Bad Ems when spa guests came from all over the world. “TrAIN” also stands for the program of the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation, of which the various academies in the association of the University of the Arts London are members.

The perception of London’s identity as the metropolis of the British Empire has shifted over the last few decades. In former times, what was primarily seen was Britain’s and its capital’s great cultural influence in its empire spread across the continents. As colonialism receded and the “big brother’s” guilty conscience toward the nations it long regarded as subjects grew, people’s eyes opened for everything Britain and London in particular owe to the peoples of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The artists in this exhibition, coming from all over the world, represent this new British society. With the various intellectual food for thought that they brought from their home countries, they contribute to the diversity of modern Britain.

While Sutapa Biswas tries to direct the observer’s attention to shifts in temporal perception and the mediation of communication, Maria Laet follows the traces of time and points out its transience. Young Mi Kim sees parallels between the landscape and traditional costumes in Germany and her own tradition, and Karl Omarsson finds in historical facts, like the Emser Depeche, ideas for the duality of force fields, which he implements in his work in purely abstract forms. For Gladstone Thompson, the site where a work of art is created determines it, and so the work can take on extremely different forms – photography or painting – that conquer the site and become witnesses to its inner perception.

Wednesday 23 September, 2009