Sønke Gau

Curatorial Statement


The Shedhalle occupies a niche between the other forms of institution. It is neither a gallery, nor a museum, or an off-space. This “in-between” status provides an opportunity that not only allows for a very diverse approach to exhibition practice but is also committed to it. In this context, we perceive the organisation of an exhibition to be dispositive: the cultural practice should be developed and communicated within a clear context and should pose specific social-political questions. The Shedhalle perceives itself as a place for production, communication, research, discussion and distribution using a variety of media. We believe that the curatorial practice must move on from the concept of the “exhibition space” as a place reserved purely for the presentation of contemporary art: and we should discover and invent new ways to do this. Artistic practices challenge art institutions to use the institution as a place for displaying and investigating artistic practice, while at the same time presenting the exhibition medium in a performative manner.

In order to explore aesthetic practice, one must start with the practice itself. Here, the institution must question to what extent it offers a model for the production of knowledge. Particular attention should be paid to the investigation of artistic practice and this has been given an important position in the Shedhalle programme with the long-term project “Vor Ort” (in situ). The starting point for these projects is the extension of the scope of the research to include the interdisciplinary fields of cultural studies, feminist theory, urbanism, and aesthetic and political practice. This artistic practice requires constant dialogue and long-term relationships with cultural producers in order that it can be widely distributed and communicated within society. We therefore propose the dynamic of with the “thematic project series,” which allows us to concentrate on one special theme over a period of a year and build up a dialogue between artistic, cultural and scientific, socially relevant practices in exhibitions, publications, film series and symposiums. An advocation of slow pace: “The mental comma instead of the full stop.”

Sønke Gau / Katharina Schlieben (2006 - 2011)

Sønke Gau 2006, no copyright
Sønke Gau
Art scientist | curator | art critic

Contemporary art
Interdisciplinary projects
Cultural production & knowledge production
Cultural Studies

Sønke Gau