Tuesday | 12. March 2024

Exposing the bureaucratization of existential concerns"

HfK master student Rima Radhakrishnan receives the 47th Bremen Prize for Fine Arts
Award winner Rima Radhakrishnan with her work "AW: AW: [EXTERN]-Re: AW: [EXTERN]-Fwd: Frage zum Aufenthalt".
Award winner Rima Radhakrishnan with her work "AW: AW: [EXTERN]-Re: AW: [EXTERN]-Fwd: Frage zum Aufenthalt". © Bernadette Haffke

The 47th Visual Arts Award goes to Rima Radhakrishnan, artist name Rimadaum, who comes from India. She was a master student at the HfK Bremen in 2019. The prize was presented at an exhibition opening at the Städtische Galerie Bremen, where her award-winning work "AW: AW: [EXTERN]-Re: AW: [EXTERN]-Fwd: Frage zum Aufenthalt" is on display. 
The jury described their first encounter with it: "Upon entering the exhibition space, your attention is caught by a gray wall and you initially wonder what this obstacle in the room is. This indifferent, predominantly ugly structure that feels like a gap. A kind of mistake. You notice the pedestal, on it a file folder that covers the exact surface, simple in its shape, like all the other file folders we've ever seen. At first you think it might be a curatorial note, a comment on the exhibition. 
You move a little closer and the work takes hold of you. There is a slight hesitation to flip through the pages as you enter another world through a well-known object that contains a well-known story. A story of life in the periphery. A story of wrestling with bureaucracy. A story that draws you deeper into the complexity of the social system, of the institution, of human rights, of surviving without being a victim. The text in the work conveys a kind of play, a humor can be experienced that contains a sarcastic undertone.
Letters, words and sentences that make you feel the confusion that humanity is confronted with. We live in a world with borders. There is neither pity nor joy here. The work has a gentle power that asks us to dare to do something."
The director and curator of the Städtische Galerie, Ingmar Lähnemann, commented on the jury's decision as follows: "In her work, the prizewinner Rimadaum reflects on her correspondence with the migration office in the course of securing her right of residence in Germany. She mirrors and processes the official material, which is characterized by bureaucracy, by typing sentences, words and terms in typewriter typography and presenting them alphabetically in an index in a file folder. The result is a mixture of frightening, comical and linguistic fragments reflecting the official language, which sometimes seem like concrete poetry. What is actually personal correspondence becomes a universal depiction and unmasking of the bureaucratization of existential concerns."
The Bremen Prize for the Promotion of Fine Arts has already been awarded to artists who have gone on to achieve national fame, such as Norbert Schwontwowski (1985) and Christian Haake (2007), and is one of the oldest and best endowed prizes for young artists. It has been awarded since 1977 and is endowed with 6,000 euros, and a subsequent solo exhibition at the Städtische Galerie Bremen.
The award winners are selected in a two-stage process. From all the applications received, a regional nomination committee first invites the candidates for an exhibition at the Städtische Galerie Bremen. This year, ten artists were selected alongside Rimadaum from a total of 41 submissions: Anja Engelke (HfK graduate and current co-director of the HfK photo workshop), Aria Farajnezhad (HfK master student 2022), Paula Hurtado Otero (HfK master student 2019), Tomma Köhler (HfK master student 2021), Ricardo Nunes (HfK student 2014 - 2017), Ole Prietz (HfK master student 2023), Florian Witt (HfK graduate 2021) as well as Clara Alisch, Kira Keune and Hae Kim.
A national jury selected the winner from the works on display. This year's jury consisted of Prof. Dr. Stephan Berg (Kunstmuseum Bonn), Prof. Dr. Andreas Blühm (Groninger Museum), Carlota Gómez (Kunstverein Hannover) and Syowia Kyambi (artist and curator, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg).
The diversity of artistic positions represented in the exhibition is striking. Interventions in the exhibition spaces and installative approaches stand alongside photographic positions and works that can be located in the field of sculpture. Building speculation, colonial heritage, feminist questions about care work, private traces in everyday digital life, artificial intelligence in image production and the subtleties and absurdities of the German language are aspects and content that are negotiated by the participating artists.
The exhibition for the 47th Bremen Prize for Fine Arts can be viewed barrier-free and admission-free until May 5, 2024 at the Städtische Galerie Bremen, Buntentorsteinweg 112.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 6 pm.
A short guide to the exhibition can be found here.