Exhibiting critique. Leuphana students realised exhibition in Berlin

2023-02-08 Conceive and realise their own exhibition: Master's students at Leuphana University had this chance as part of the complementary module. The seminar was a cooperation with the Academy of Arts and Humboldt University, bringing together students from Lüneburg and Berlin from different disciplines. At the opening of the congress "The Future of Criticism", the exhibition was presented to representatives from art, literature, film, theatre and science in Berlin at the end of last year.

Zwei Studierende in der Ausstellung Kritik Ausstellen an der Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz, Berlin. ©David Kraus
Two students in the exhibition "Kritik Ausstellen" ("exhibit critique") at the Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz, Berlin.

How can critical practices - for example film, theatre or literary reviews - be made exhibitable to an audience? Putting a critical text in a display case is unlikely to generate much interest among visitors: Thinking about a more accessible form and ultimately implementing it was the challenge that participants in the seminar "Kritik Ausstellen" ("Exhibiting Critique") took on last semester. The art historians Jordan Troeller from the Free University of Berlin and Angela Lammert from the Berlin Academy of Arts led the complementary seminar. Beate Söntgen, Professor of Art History at the Institute of Philosophy and Art Studies, was involved in the conception and implementation of the course in an advisory capacity.

The students worked in groups on various critics, such as the writer Emine Sevgi Özdamar, the architect Adolf Behne, the actress and journalist Lucy von Jacobi and Bertold Brecht. "It wasn't just about thinking about the reviews and analysing them," explains Beate Söntgen, "but thinking about how to make what you can take from the reviews visible and accessible to the audience of an exhibition." In the end, two podcasts, a film, four showcases and two posters emerged from the project. At the "Zukunft der Kritik" ("Future of Critique") congress in Berlin, the objects were finally presented in an exhibition to artists, writers, theatre-makers and academics.

Students and lecturers from Lüneburg and Berlin came together over two weekends in the archive of the Akademie für Künste. The research was prepared and supported by the archive staff. During the block seminar, both Leuphana Master's students and students from Humboldt University Berlin had the opportunity to get to know the archive and to use it for their research and for the development of the exhibition. When looking into the archive, the participants were faced with various questions: How do we look at the material from today? What is strange about it, what is interesting about it - also for today? "Using the archive as a source of knowledge was new for many students. The first impulse for most of them was to first enter their topic online in the search engine. And some said that they couldn't find much on the internet," says Jordan Troeller, "that was also a nice result of the course: to realise what all is in an archive in the first place and why it is so valuable to maintain archives in our society today."

After working as a lecturer at Leuphana last summer semester, Jordan Troeller will return to Lüneburg in the future: On 1 April 2023, the art historian will take up a junior professorship at the Institute of Fine Arts, Music and Education in the School of Education.