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Goethe@LUX Residence
Sonya Schönberger

Sonya Schönberger GOETHE@LUX Residency © Lucy Lux / © Christof Zwiener

Goethe@LUX Residency artist 2019

The Goethe-Institut London and LUX are delighted to announce Berlin-based artist Sonya Schönberger as this year’s Goethe@LUX artist in residence. The key theme for the 2019 residency is ecologies and the increasingly fraught relationship between the natural world and human civilization and takes place from 1 May until 23 July.

During her Goethe@LUX residency, Sonya Schönberger will work within an ecological framework and explore the role of exotic plants which were imported during and after the British Empire. Questioning the image of plants as the provider of solace to humans, she will trace the history of plants both as victims and tools of colonisation, as violated objects and instruments of replacing existing ecologies.

The key theme for the 2019 residency was determined by the Goethe-Institut’s focus on ecology and sustainability as well as the location of LUX in the green environment of Waterlow Park. The site used to be the home of English metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell (1621 – 1678). An early proponent of ecological thinking, Marvell’s poem The Garden (1681) and the lines “annihilating all that’s made / To a green thought in a green shade” provides the reference for this year’s Goethe@LUX residency. Schönberger’s project takes up Marvell’s idea of the garden as refuge and the practice of importing exotic plants to Britain as points of departure.

Sonya Schönberger is a Berlin-based artist who combines her studies in social anthropology and experimental media design in her artistic practice. The tracing of historical themes in connection with individual memories marked by breaks is of particular interest to her. Many of her projects have developed out of different archives, which she either found or created. Over the past ten years, she has for instance built up an archive of interviews with witnesses to World War II from various countries. Archive of Memories, a long-term project, examines the effects of Germany’s World War II traumas for future generations. Schönberger works across different media such as photography, theatre, film, installation and audio formats.

Schönberger’s works have been exhibited internationally, including in the USA, Iran, Pakistan, Israel and Canada. The artist has been awarded various scholarships, most recently from the Research Fund Fonds Darstellende Künste (2019), the GLOBAL Scholarship by the Senate of Berlin to cooperate with the National Drama Theatre of Lithuania (2017) and a working scholarship provided by the Senate of Berlin (2014). She has also taken part in numerous residency programmes such as the New York scholarship provided by Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral (2012) and the ARTPORT residency in Tel Aviv (2017).

Schönberger’s book Zingster Strasse 25 was published in the series Berliner Hefte zu Geschichte und Gegenwart der Stadt in 2017. It tells the personal stories of daily life in the GDR, but also bears witness to the regime change of 1989. Parts of the book will be read at the event Zingster Straße 25, which is held at the Goethe-Institut London on 3 July 2019 in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

A collaboration between LUX and the Goethe-Institut London.

Read here the interview with Sonya Schönberger

Events featuring Sonya Schönberger
16 June 2019, Plant Stories
19 June 2019, An Evening about Sustainability
3 July 2019, Performative Reading: Zingster Straße 25
21 July 2019, Green Thoughts in a Green Shade
25 July 2019, An Evening on Roses

Sonya Schönberger homepage

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