In January 2021, despite the lockdown, BcmA Gallery in Kreuzberg presents the big group exhibition Lusus Naturae curated by Vanessa Souli. This on-site and online event will present 50 established artists from the German and international art scene with more than 90 small-format artworks, many of which were made exclusively for the exhibition. The exhibition opens a dialogue about monstrosity, deformation and hybridisation in the Covid-19 era, when the questions of a hybrid future become more relevant than ever.
As the title of the exhibition would translate from Latin, the lusi naturae, the ‘freaks of nature’ will be the protagonists of this multi-disciplinary show. You are invited to share in the dramatic energy of this exhibition via a 3D interactive tour, video tours from the gallery space and an online showroom. Emotions from fear and surprise to disgust and desire will greet you before the quivering visual creations of Lusus Naturae.
“Lusus Naturae”, roughly translates from Latin as „Freak of Nature‟. It is a term from the 17th century used to describe incomprehensible and deformed beings, whose existence the science of the time could not explain. Lusi naturae were phenomena that, from the rational human point of view disrupted the natural order of things. These “Wonders of Nature” or “Freaks of Nature‟ are something that caused a sense of discomfort in the face of their deformed, mutated and monstrous appearance.
Lennart Grau, Visitor, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 40 x 30 cm, 2020,
courtesy of the artist
But how has the definition of monstrosity changed in the last centuries and what does it mean now? Do we perceive deformation with the same awe, when we nowadays strive to deform‟ our identities on purpose, for example, via social media?
With these questions in mind, curator Vanessa Souli has chosen 50 established artists who express their perspectives on these topics through 90+ selected small-format artworks of a max. 50 x 50 cm size. Artists from the UK, France, Germany as well as her native country Greece have been invited for the show. Surreal creatures and absurd scenes come into life through a range of different media including painting, sculpture, drawing, as well as hybrid art formats that the visitor is invited to experience with a range of emotions: fear, surprise, disgust, pity and excitement.
These works give a voice to the imaginary monsters and make them accessible to us, escaping the standard display format of the Wunderkammer or the museum vitrine. The works will be exhibited in an experimental Petersburg hanging style. As Souli puts it, „the Lusus Naturae is a talented but yet misunderstood creature that deserves our attention and respect‟.
Eric Haacht, System of change, Acrylic on Canvas, 30 x 25 cm, 2021,
courtesy of the artist
Nowadays, with the constant development of media technologies and the „filtered‟ presentation of the self, people often neglect the fascination there has been since the beginning of time with the „ugly‟ or the „deformed‟. This exhibition challenges the concept of “ugliness” and raises questions, creating a dialogue between old and new tradition.
Acknowledging the current situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exhibition will also be accessible online. In collaboration with DEEDS.world and ART@Berlin, a virtual 3D
tour of the exhibition will be available.
Katharina Arndt, Jim Avignon, Fritz Bornstück, Stefano Bosis, Dimitra Bouritsa, Maxim Brandt, Beth Braun, Joanna Buchowska, Ulrike Buhl, Troels Carlsen, Mimmo Catania, Claudia Chaseling, Jeroen Cremers, Amrita Dhillon, GodsDogs, Grigori Dor, Christina Foitou, Elena Alonso Fernandez, Zohar Fraiman, Abie Franklin, Andrew Gilbert, Giuseppe Gonella, Lennart Grau, Philip Grözinger, Eric Haacht, Tanja Hehmann, René Holm, Stella Kapezanou, Sarah Kretchmer, Miriam Lenk, Katsuhiko Matsubara, Christopher Colm Morrin, Amalia Mourad, Mascha Naumova, Anna Nezhnaya, Justine Otto, Eglė Otto, Allan Paul, Christian Perdix, Paul Pretzer, Cornelia Renz, Noah Ryu, Susanne Schirdewahn, Moritz Schleime, Kerstin Serz, Semra Sevin, Alexander Skorobogatov, Rebecca Stevenson, Mairen Hernandez, Miriam Vlaming
All artworks are for sale. To see all the works, visit the page of the gallery. For purchase inquiries or more information on the artworks, please send a direct mail to the curator Vanessa Souli at email@example.com
WHAT? Exhibition “Lusus Naturae”
WHEN? Thursday, 21 January to Sunday, 7 February 2021 (online until further notice)
OPENING: Wednesday, 20 January 2021 (digitally), per Instagram Live, @bcma_berlin
Text + Curation by Vanessa Souli
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