Fresh A.I.R. #7 Exhibition of the Artists in Residence „Picturing Democracy“

  • by Anne Schmedding

See the works of the artists here

Since modernity, art and democracy have been a sign of progress, of emancipation; both are to a great extent objects of engagement. They are not only both something worth fighting for, or even something that nobilises the person fighting. They are also both only conceivable as activity, as commitment.

Democracy as a political form lives from negotiation processes. The eleven scholarship holders of Fresh A.I.R. Year #7 dealt with these processes. Under the title „Picturing Democracy“, the artists from seven European countries show how they address the fragility and the need for protection of democratic values such as freedom, equality and the rights of minorities.

With different approaches and in different media, Year #7 presents approaches to democratic action and preconditions of political life as well as models for a future democratic coexistence. Historical democratic and undemocratic events also play a role. National Socialist crimes are remembered in a video work and in photographs. We can approach the queer scene and its places in Schöneberg during the Weimar Republic with the help of sounds. Another archive consists of compiled smells that are associatively connected to democracy. A vegetabile sculpture, a video work on the flight of moths and photographs that capture the flight of moths show us how democratic principles for the coexistence of humans, animals and plants can be tested.

When it comes to the question of the freedom of movement of human bodies in different places and their limitations, boundaries are also always drawn between the public and the private. As the works show, debates can be held and utopias developed in places like coffee houses, in the Bundestag and on the street. Cardboard signs stand as a medium for the right to demonstrate and for freedom of expression par excellence. In the exhibition, they reproduce statements by voters. In a drawing that works with the ephemeral nature of easily smudged charcoal, the fragile balance of democratic coexistence is expressed. Also part of the exhibition are pictorial productions that deal with inequality in capitalism and its profoundly undemocratic mechanisms.

All these works combine a dialogical concern with their public presentation. They invite the public to reflect critically on the protection of basic democratic values and pluralistic forms of social coexistence.

I hope that you, dear readers, enjoy exploring the artistic works of our seventh year.

Janine Arndt
Artistic Director

See the works of the artists here

Stiftung Berliner Leben, Fresh A.I.R., Fresh A.I.R. #7 Ausstellungsraum, Berlin, September 2022