Looking Out at the Great Western Sea + 1.5 Degrees

April 2023 – Jan 2024
Mannheim and Fohr, Germany

Installation view of Baden Baden Satellite Reef – Neon Island with Wall of Names listing all 4,000 citizen-reef-contributors, at Kunsthalle Mannheim (2023).

Photo © Kunsthalle Mannheim / Elmar Witt

In 2023 two exhibitions in Germany are showcasing community-made reefs. At the Museum Kunst der Westkuste on the island of Fohr a large part of the elegant Fohr Satellite Reef (2012) is displayed in Looking Out at the Great Western Sea, and at the Kunsthalle Mannheim several spectacular islands of the Baden Baden Satellite Reef (2022) are included in 1.5 Degrees: Interdependence Between Life, the Cosmos and Technology. Created exactly a decade apart, these sibling German reefs – the largest-ever Satellite Reefs – speak to the special place crafting continues to occupy in the German cultural imagination and in ongoing folk-art practice. Both installations incorporate pieces from vast numbers of citizens –  750 people in the case of Fohr and over 4,000 in the case of Baden Baden (all of whom are named on the gallery walls). In these monumental intricate woolen ecologies we find a jeweled variety of crochet coral ‘species’ wrought into being by crafters who have collectively imagined new nodes in the crochet network of life. We applaud the nearly 5,000 crocheters who contributed to these works from across the German speaking world and beyond, including from Denmark, Austria, France, Switzerland and Moldova.

Museum Kunst der Westkuste – Looking Out at the Great Western Sea
Exhibition dates: April 2, 2023 – January 14, 2024
Location: Fohr, Germany

Kunsthalle Mannheim – 1.5 Degrees: Interdependence between Life, the Cosmos and Technology
Exhibition dates: April 7, 2023 – October 8, 2023
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Installation view of Baden Baden Satellite Reef – Neon Island and Ugly Island at Kunsthalle Mannheim, 2023.

Photo @ Kunsthalle Mannheim / Elmar Witt

About the Exhibition – 1.5 Degrees

Plants as data repositories, algae as energy sources and microorganisms as empathic dialog partners: The exhibition project “1.5 Degrees” at Kunsthalle Mannheim examines the complex interplay between man, nature and technology and, following a multi-voiced approach, demonstrates how the climate crisis is affecting every area of life. In the form of thematic fragments, the exhibition extends across all floors of the museum, integrating the areas displaying the permanent collection, and further to the grounds of the German National Garden Show Mannheim 2023, BUGA 23. Individual chapters deal, among other things, with artistic forms of activism, the significance of human-animal relations or the connection between art, science and technology. Artists such as Ernesto Neto, melanie bonajo, Marianna Simnett, Laure Prouvost, Tita Salina or Trevor Paglen on the one hand point to the impending ecological dangers and on the other hand emphasize the hope-giving potential of creativity and innovation.

With “1.5 Degrees” the Kunsthalle Mannheim, as a partner of BUGA 23, is moving beyond the museum’s spatial boundaries: artists Olaf Holzapfel and Fabian Knecht are realising walk-in and site-specific installations on the garden show’s exhibition grounds, inviting the public to participate.

Curators: Johan Holten, Anja Heitzer, Sebastian Schneider, Pia Goebel (assistant curator)

Artists: Apparatus 22, Lee Bae, Joseph Beuys, melanie bonajo, Daniel Canogar, Julian Charrière, Peter Fend, Lili Fischer, Eva Gentner, Kyriaki Goni, Andreas Greiner, Romuald Hazoumè, Olaf Holzapfel, Anne Duk Hee Jordan & Pauline Doutreluingne, Anselm Kiefer, Tomas Kleiner, Fabian Knecht, Jannis Kounellis, Wolfgang Laib, Marino Marini, Guadalupe Miles, Ernesto Neto, Otobong Nkanga, Trevor Paglen, Emerson Pontes / Uýra Sodoma, Laure Prouvost, Germaine Richier, Tita Salina, Günther & Loredana Selichar, Marianna Simnett, Bahzad Sulaiman, SUPERFLEX, Margaret & Christine Wertheim, Susanne M. Winterling / The Kalpana

Fohr Satellite Reef – installation view at the Museum Kunst der Westkuste (2012)

Photo by Margaret Wertheim, courtesy Institute For Figuring

About the exhibition – Looking Out at the Great Western Sea

At Museum Kunst der Westkuste this exhibition invites visitors to set out to sea on a visual voyage along the North Sea coast. It shows the role the sea has always played and still continues to play for the cultural links between the island of Föhr, northern Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. Artists like Peder Severin Krøyer, Max Liebermann, Emil Nolde, Mila Teshaieva and Anja Jensen direct our gaze to the sea, a fascinating habitat that stands for depth as well as breadth but is nevertheless threatened by the intrusions of humankind. Their works vividly illustrate how the coasts and sea have changed, and they sensitise us to the beauty of this exceptional natural realm and the need to do everything we can to preserve it.

As part of the exhibition, for the first time in 11 years, the MKdW is also presenting a large part of the Föhr Reef. Initiated by Australian twin sisters Christine and Margaret Wertheim, this crocheted coral reef was created as a collective artwork in 2012. More than 750 people contributed to this crossborder German-Danish project, including members of the Land-FrauenVerein Föhr, and visitors to the Strikkecafé of the Museum Sønderjylland in Tønder, Denmark.

The Föhr Reef is a satellite of the international art project Crochet Coral Reef by the Wertheim Sisters and their Institute for Figuring, an organization  dedicated to the aesthetics of mathematical and scientific theories. At the same time, the crocheted reef is an ecological statement drawing attention to globally threatened marine ecosystems, especially the Great Barrier Reef in the Wertheim’s home country, Australia.

See here for a 360˚ Tour of the exhibition.