Thursday | 18 April 2024

"Faszination Höhle"

HfK students tackle the subject on the occasion of the current exhibition at the PMB-Museum
Sihle Inensiko: Lustgrotte, 2024, Neonleuchten auf Holz
Sihle Inensiko: Lustgrotte, 2024, Neonleuchten auf Holz © Sihle Inensiko

Stalactite caves are tourist magnets, children playfully build caves, architects base their designs and the construction of artificial grottos on natural rock formations. The Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum is showing how artists have explored the motif of the cave with the exhibition "Fascination Cave" (until June 9, 2024). The question of what young visual artists associate with caves today is the focus of a cooperation project between the HfK Bremen and the museum. HfK students created new works and adapted existing work concepts for a space that is difficult to use outside the actual museum rooms: the cave-like vestibule, from which a staircase leads up to the museum foyer. Lithographs, paintings, photographs, video works and installations now welcome visitors to the exhibition and present a broad spectrum of possible associations. Don Chauvin, Kai Balthasar Wittig, Sihle Inensiko, Mi-El Kwak and Bahareh Hejrankeshrad are currently presenting their interventions.

Kai Balthasar Wittig: infra_social, 2024, 3D print | video
Kai Balthasar Wittig: infra_social, 2024, 3D print | video © Kai Balthasar Wittig

Artist Statement: “'Balance' interests me universally and intensively, especially the balance between nature, humankind and artificial intelligence and digitality. Alongside with thematic art, I also work informal, this equilibrium lets me artistically breathe freely. Technology evolves increasingly faster and further, whereas contrary we still find ourselves often in sheer endlessly repeating humankind loops. Possibilities and problems and their various facets in technological developments interest me equally, positively realistic und solution-oriented, first of all the context and connection to nature and interpersonal relationships and the focus on and sense for what is essential. Also in thematic artworks the visual autonomy is important to me, it should possibly create an emotion and open up more layers via the title and if fitting also text.”

Kai Balthasar Wittig, born in 1987, has been studying fine art with Prof. Katrin von Maltzahn in the diploma program at the HfK Bremen since the summer semester 2023. In 2021 he completed his Bachelor's degree with Prof. Gabriele Basch at the HAW in Hamburg.

Bahareh Hejrankeshrad: Div (Demon), 2024, Object, Statue
Bahareh Hejrankeshrad: Div (Demon), 2024, Object, Statue © Bahareh Hejrankeshrad

Artist statement: “In Persian mythology, demons live in the darkness of caves. Humans preserve them in floating glass jars ... also within the darkness.”

Bahareh Hejrankeshrad was born in Iran in 1992. She holds a bachelor's degree in painting from the University of Tehran (2016) and is currently studying fine art at the HfK Bremen.

Don Chauvin: Liminal Cave, 2023, Digital Print
Don Chauvin: Liminal Cave, 2023, Digital Print © Don Chauvin

Artist statement: “In his work, Don Felix Chauvin explores the world of internet trends and focusses in particular on the phenomenon of 'Dream Core'. Here, digital worlds are created that evoke a unique mixture of security and claustrophobia. These surreal spaces invite you to lose yourself in an ambivalent emotional frenzy where the boundaries between reality and dream seem to blur.” 

Don Chauvin was born in Aachen in 1989, first studied art and art therapy at the HKS Ottersberg and has been a student in Katrin von Maltzahn's class at the HfK Bremen since 2022.

Sihle Inensiko: Pleasure cave, 2024, Neonlights on Wood
Sihle Inensiko: Pleasure cave, 2024, Neonlights on Wood © Sihle Inensiko

Artist statement: “There are two references behind the creation of this work. one is Georges Bataille’s ‘'volume two of The Accursed Share, in Eroticism and The Tears of Eros’’. Which is about the cave paintings of Lascaux, but one drawing in particular stood out for Bataille. A depiction of a man with his mouth wide open, lying on his back with an obvious erection; next to a bison pierced by a spear with its guts hanging out. Georges Bataille writes ‘’ “The scene has an erotic nature…" thus much of his arguments are centered around eroticism, sexual taboos, and the grotesque in relation to these cave drawings.

The second reference is influenced by the title of the exhibition ‘’Faszination Höhle’’ particularly the term ‘’ Faszination or Fascination’’ meaning the act of ‘bewitching’ or to ‘enchant’. In this instance, the Khoi-San caves in southern Africa are spaces of ancestral dwellings that captured and preserved Khoisan civilization and history. However, within a contemporary context; 'touristic' expeditions of these environments turn these spaces into cultural commodities. They are exoticized as spaces of experiencing the supernatural; of getting in touch with the ‘primitive’ and experiencing something beyond the norm. The caves lose their historical significance, and became spaces of ‘pleasure’

At large, reflecting a culture obsessed with consumption fantasies of the unfamiliar to the point where lines between horror and ecstasy, pleasure and pain, violence and affection become blurry.”

Sihle Inensiko was born in 1997 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He is a multidisciplinary artist who graduated from the Durban University of Technology (2022) and is currently pursuing further studies at the HfK Bremen under the guidance of Prof. Kati Barath.

Mi-El Kwak: Agit Cave, 2024, Mixed media on Canvas
Mi-El Kwak: Agit Cave, 2024, Mixed media on Canvas © Mi-El Kwak

Artist statement: “My art is a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors and shapes that reflect my worldview. I consider patterns to be visual metaphors for my personal experiences and memories, which I capture on canvas. The figures on my canvases oscillate between grotesque cheerfulness and a colorful abyss.

For this project, I drew inspiration from my childhood memories. Much like many other children, I used to enjoy hiding in closets or constructing my own secret caves during my early years. Drawing on these memories, I created a layered collage. I combined various types of fabrics that reminded me of the diverse beddings and clothing from my childhood. Additionally, I employed artistic mediums that evoke childhood reminiscences, such as oil pastels, to draw and paint a secret cave that I named Agit Cave."

Mi-El Kwak was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1993 and lives and works in Bremen. She has been studying fine art at the HfK Bremen with Prof. Heike Kati Barath since 2020. In June 2023, she successfully completed her studies with a diploma and is now continuing her studies as a master student.