KW Institute for Contemporary Art & Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin: 14.2.–18.4.2004

Group exhibition

Participation in the 3rd Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art with photographs created in the context of the films Countdown and Bildnis einer Trinkerin.

"The 3rd Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art under the direction of Ute Meta Bauer presented 50 positions of contemporary art in the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and for the first time in the Martin-Gropius-Bau as well as 35 film works in the Arsenal cinema.

The central aim of the 3rd Berlin Biennale was to facilitate a connection between local actors in art and knowledge production and thus create a temporary, shared discourse. Ute Meta Bauer made the artistic selection of the participating authors, filmmakers, cultural producers and artists against the backdrop of the structural changes that the city has undergone some 20 years after the end of the East-West conflict. Berlin served as a frame of reference for the presentation of a broad, international spectrum of visual art, architectural, filmic, performative, sonic and urban productions. In addition, the exhibition reflected on the location, the specific topography of the city of Berlin and the relationship to similar conditions in other European metropolises.

The five main themes - called HUBS - on Migration, Urban Conditions, Sonic Landscapes, Fashions and Scenes and Other Cinema, most of which were developed on site, made direct reference to the exhibition location Berlin.

For the first time, an extensive film programme was shown three times a week at the Arsenal cinema on Potsdamer Platz. In addition to panel discussions at the KW Institute for Contemporary, there were numerous collaborations with other Berlin cultural institutions such as the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, MaerzMusik, the Berliner Festspiele and the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz. Another novelty was the institutional partnership with the Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek and the temporary radio project reboot.fm, which broadcast a programme on the 3rd Berlin Biennale once a week.

The 3rd Berlin Biennale concluded with the three-day event Performance Jam with sound performances, concerts, readings and fashion shows on the last weekend of the exhibition."

In selecting the artists and the orientation of the program of the 3rd Berlin Biennale in 2004, artistic director Ute Meta Bauer made conscious reference to the structural changes in the city of Berlin triggered by the end of the Cold War.

At the Martin-Gropius-Bau Ottinger presented a selection of photographs which she arranged into tableaux of the city before, during and after the fall of the Wall. Berlin was the point of departure and the foil of her early films. Thanks to their sensitivity and precision in the choice of location they became both adept works of fiction and a telling historical record of the devided city.

The photographs taken in the context of the film Ticket of No Return can be seen in this way.

In a hard staccato, the drinker staggers aimlessly through the border zones of Berlin-West, industrial landscapes, the rubbish heaps of the Westhafen harbour and the bars. In the film Countdown, Ottinger sdepicts the fall of the Berlin Wall through its marginal scenarios, with everyone looking to make a quick buck, both east and west. "Test the West" in the east, and the barter rackets of the Poles in the west.

Exhibited works by Ulrike Ottinger: photo ensembles from the contexts of the films Bildnis einer Trinkerin (1976-1979) and Countdown (1989).

The following films by Ulrike Ottinger were shown at the Arsenal cinema in the context of the Biennale: Ticket of No Return (1979), Freak Orlando (1981), Dorian Gray in the Mirrow of the Yellow Press (1984) and Countdown (1990).


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