The historic area surrounding the Maxim Gorki Theater is being turned into a temporary exhibition site. For the Berliner Herbstsalon, the Maxim Gorki Theater has invited 30 artists to explore the past and present of this location. The theatre building itself, the Neue Wache and the Palais am Festungsgraben are historic sites where the notion of being German and of the German nation were formed. In their new and existent works, the artists examine the consequences of the formation of this national identity and make comparisons and links to other nations.
Some works connect with the past of the theatre building itself and its immediate surroundings; they explore the enthusiasm and pathos that accompanied the idea of a new nation. The fact that modern nations have always defined themselves mainly in terms of their difference to other countries had led to the darkest chapters of modern history: the “others” have been colonised,excluded or even entirely wiped out. Some artistic works take up the theme of the traumatic effects of nationalism, present-day experiences of migration and the treatment of groups on the edge of society. Others explore ideological rhetoric and iconography that have spawned mechanisms of exclusion. A further series of works examine the “blind spots” in the official politics of memory, or the question as to which role economic and other interests play in the formation of national and supranational structures. The Berliner Herbstsalon has gathered performances, installations and video works by international artists who are for the most part resident in Berlin. The result is a view with multiple perspectives on the constructs of nation and identity from modern-day Berlin.
Organised by Shermin Langhoff, together with Çağla İlk, Erden Kosova and Antje Weitzel, the Berliner Herbstsalon opens up a space of associations that aims to inspire the coming theatre programme and the people of Berlin. The Berliner Herbstsalon ushers in the new season under Shermin Langhoff and Jens Hillje’s artistic direction at Maxim Gorki Theater.