Father Figures Are Hard To Find

19 Mar 2016 – 1 May 2016

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 20:00

Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (nGbK)

Berlin, Germany

Travel Information

  • U1 Kottbusser Tor

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The exhibition brings together works of art, relics of everyday life, potential new role models, performances, lectures, analyses, salons and liberation rituals.


With contributions by Naama Arad, Timothy Archer, Sean Crossley, Sergio Cusmir, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Heike-Karin Föll, Juliana Huxtable, Lukas-Julius Keijser, Aleksandra Mir, Michaela Meise, Konrad Mühe, Egle Otto, Antje Prust, Przemek Pyszczek, Ronald M. Schernikau, Bodo Schlack, Sarah Ancelle Schönfeld/Oskar Curter, Timo Seber, Lea St. and Danh Vo
As well as performances, lectures, analyses, salons and liberation rituals by
Lothar Baumgarten, Arielle Bier/Magnus Rosengarten, Lily Benson/Cassandra Guan, Sabeth Buchmann/Helmut Draxler/Susanne Leeb, Sadie Lune/KAy Garnellen/Mad Kate, Mysti, Aykan Safoğlu, Ronald M. Schernikau/ Ellen Schernikau, Vanessa Sinclair und Melanie Jame Wolf

The stars are aligned against the traditional image of fatherhood, as they are aligning against the patriarchal canon of the history of art itself. To help them along, this exhibition seeks new father figures, queer genealogies, and artistic appropriations of the fatherly prerogative, or whatever remains thereof. The artistic works presented here touch upon biological, disembodied, counter-canonical, digital and (above all) sexy facets of kinship that enable us to re-imagine our role models, and indeed, the human body itself.

“I will be your father figure I have had enough of crime, I will be the one who loves you till the end of time;” with these words George Michael has sought to soothe us in our anxieties since 1987. And despite these reassurances painful questions persist: what can a father figure be? What will become of our fathers? Of the “Our Father”? Of the Father-land? What personae in the history of art have been underestimated as possible mentors on account of not being white, male, and/or straight? How can the building blocks that make a father figure be cleaved from the body of the biological progenitor? What disembodied, digital, and affirmative genealogies can emerge from this?

A point of departure for this project is the assumption that only a precious few develop themselves in the absence authority or role models, relying exclusively on their own piecemeal subjectivity. Hence, we curators bid adieu – goodbye to the family as reproductive union; goodbye all ye fathers of modernity; goodbye to fatherhood as the exclusive reserve of heterosexual men. In their stead we look, paradoxically, down from below and look up from on high in search of father figures who offer us their elective affinities in symbolic and fluid ways.

The exhibition brings together works of art, relics of everyday life, potential new role models, performances, lectures, analyses, salons and liberation rituals daring to walk the fine line between acknowledging the desire to admire and revere our father figures, while simultaneously allowing us to cast them away altogether.


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