UTOPIA. Keep on Moving Videos and Installations


Under the leitmotif of "Thinking with / from images", curator Diana Wechsler presents works by Christin Berg, Ingo Dunnebier, Gabriela Golder, Ali Kazma, Kapwani Kiwanga, Enrique Ramírez and Regina Silveira for the historically charged Akademie building on Pariser Platz which create possible horizons for a contemporary humanism. The Fahrstuhlmusik installation by Kathrin Röggla and Leopold von Verschuer explores the utopian potential of movement between and beyond the floors.

“When thinking currently about the utopian dimension, it is inevitable that its opposite, the dystopian, also gets considered. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the notion of dystopia, previously the preserve of literature or cinema, began to be used to describe what we were living through. Today, facing wars and the expansion of a ‘capitalism of the fragmentation’ (as formulated by Quinn Slobodian), we become witnesses of dehumanization everywhere, with efforts at supranational regulation, and democracy itself, being pushed to their limits.

Both utopia and dystopia are constructs that allow us to reflect on our current situation from a different critical point of view. At the same time, the description of our present as dystopian already implies the alternative concept of a better world. The utopian dimension refers to this implicit presence of the utopian in the seemingly dystopian now – utopia as a force that is able to direct us towards a more desirable future.

Rethinking utopias at the Akademie der Künste poses a real challenge, as the battles for symbolic power that were waged here in earlier times reverberate in the rooms of the institution. This exhibition attempts to repossess the ideals of modernity by showing works by selected artists who engage in an implicit dialogue with the memory of the site within the programmatic framework imagined by Jeanine Meerapfel.

Reflecting on the concept of utopia and its possible role takes us back to Walter Benjamin and his views on modernity, history, and the notion of time, to Theodor W. Adorno and his ideas on the philosophy of the future and the limitations of modernity, and to the thought of Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Žižek as well as other contemporary intellectuals.

Can we understand modernity as an unfinished project and revive its various utopian ideas with the help of art? Ultimately, every past is rewritten in the present, so it could well be productive to recover some of these utopian dimensions by questioning them in new and different ways. The selected works are capable of triggering diverse meanings of dreams and utopias in a continuous present. The central concepts underlying the selection include time, memory, resistance, and perseverance.

With its recourse to utopian dimensions of modernity, the exhibition wants to invite reflection. Its aim is to provide a provocative critical impetus in order to highlight possible horizons for a contemporary humanism that must be constantly realigned and reclaimed in an ever-changing world.”

Diana Wechsler


The wall installation Monudentro by Regina Silveira was realised with the kind support of the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin / Institut Guimarães Rosa.

Enrique Ramirez, Un hombre que camina (Still), 2016 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

Christin Berg, Beyond The Now (Still), 2022 © Christin Berg studio fire on air / VG Bild-Kunst

Gabriela Golder, Conversation Piece, 2012 © Gabriela Golder

Ali Kazma, House of Letters, 2015 © Ali Kazma

Regina Silveira, Monudentro, 1987/2024 © Regina Silveira

Ingo Dunnebier, Nature Restart, 2023 © Ingo Dunnebier

3 — 26 May 2024

Pariser Platz

Foyer, Black Box, Lift

Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm

Sat 25 May 11 am – 5 pm

Free admission

Videos and installations by Christin Berg, Ingo Dunnebier, Gabriela Golder, Ali Kazma, Kapwani Kiwanga, Enrique Ramírez, Kathrin Röggla and Leopold von Verschuer, Regina Silveira
Curator: Diana Wechsler

Fri 3 May from 6 pm

Curator's Tour
Sun 5 May 11 am