The Language of Terror Is Terror Itself [...]

13 Sep 2019 – 26 Oct 2019

Galerie Wedding

Berlin, Germany


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  • U Leopoldplatz

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An exhibition by Peter Voss-Knude curated by Solvej Helweg Ovesen within the frame of the programme SoS (Soft Solidarity), conceived by Nataša Ilić and Solvej Helweg Ovesen.


“I had grown increasingly afraid of political discussions in which us-and-them rethorics short circuited any sort of progression in arguments. As a solution, I figured that the price I had to pay would be to position myself and my studio within the body of what I was critical towards, the military,” says the Danish artist Peter Voss-Knude. In collaboration with the Danish military he met soldiers who agreed to trust their stories with him. He later musically composed these stories into two records. (»Peter & the Danish Defense, 2017 «).  Both records center around the question of mutuality within language: is it possible to understand something you have not experienced yourself?

In the exhibition at Galerie Wedding - Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Voss-Knude focuses on the use of language in a document called »KRISØV17« (»Crisis Exercise 2017«) that he has, as a result of his above mentioned project, gained access to. The text is a narrative written for a national military exercise, wherein Denmark is hit by a fictive, multilateral terrorist attack. The works in the exhibition are all developed as a critical reaction to this narrative; many of them spread as text fragments all around the exhibition space. The artist suggests that by discovering this special document, which he also translated (DK/ENG), as well as the way we talk about terror, is part of creating terror. The three languages of terror criticized in the exhibition are the news media language, the architectural measures of protection, as well as popular prejudiced imaginations like »KRISØV17«.

One core work is a bombastic 1.1-ton rose quartz crystal stone placed in front of the gallery. Rose quartz is a material commonly attributed with healing qualities. With this gesture, the artist suggests parallels between the methods of storytelling used by national security agencies and those of a psychic medium, who is looking into the future. Can one ‘crystallize’ the logic of walls and barricades by placing a heavy crystal on a public square? Weaving together the imagined with the real this sculpture proposes that resistance to the hate that terrorists aim to incite, could be found in the insistence on languages of care.

With this exhibition in the context of the framework of Soft Solidarity (SoS) at Galerie Wedding, we wish to ask if it is possible to think of other caring responses than the known military and media defense mechanisms to the conflicts that terrorism deters from? How can we avoid creating images of them and us as well as places of fear by reacting differently towards terror conflicts?

Further events
14.09.2019 at 4 pm exhibition tour with the artist Peter Voss Knude and curator
Solvej Helweg Ovesen as well as discussion on the topic of Language and Terror with
Ibrahim Quareshi and Carrie Hampel
04.10.2019 at 5 pm Workshop: How to build your own crisis management –
»Pandora, the forward looking cell« with Peter Voss-Knude
05.10.2019 at 3 pm Presentation of an interview with the author of KRISØV17 »Crisis
Exercise« at Galerie Wedding followed by a tour to the sets of Homeland in Berlin
accompanied by Peter Voss-Knude
Workshops for schools with Barbara Campaner in cooperation with Jugend im
Museum e.V. Dates on request

The artist thanks the Danish Emergency Management and Rasmus Dahlberg (author of
KRISØV17) for their cooperation, the artists CAConrad, Joekim Wei Beinild, Heiki Eero Riipinen and the workshop participants Nisha Bhakoo, Kasper Skovsbøl, Kathrin Pohlmann, Özlem Ögütcü, Zara Palmquist, Andre Mulzer.

With kind support of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe Berlin, funds
»Ausstellungsvergütungen« and »Ausstellungsfunds Kommunale Galerien Berlin« as well as the Metzger Research fund.


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